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Gray-crested Finch Lophospingus griseocristatus

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Thraupidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Amber A. Elliott, Casey H. Richart, and Kevin J. Burns

Gray-crested Finch (Lophospingus griseocristatus) is largely restricted to dry shrubby country in dry intermontane valleys of Bolivia, although it has also been recorded in Argentina. As the name notes, this finch has a short dark gray crest which is usually kept lowered, and has generally grayish upperparts, which are a bit more olive on the back, and more blue-gray on the rump. Ventrally, this species is pale grayish, with a whiter throat and belly. Perhaps most noticeable are large white tail corners that are conspicuous in flight. Gray-crested Finch is found in desert and near-desert habitats, in dry valleys, often with dry scrub and taller cactus as well as mesquite (Prosopis sp.). It commonly forages in open areas of bare earth, likely on seeds, particularly in the nonbreeding season. As is the case with so many Neotropical finches, "crested finches" (Lophospingus) now have been found to be tanagers based on genetic data. The two species of Lophospingus species to be sister to White-banded Tanager (Neothraupis fasciata) and these in turn are part of a clade that includes Common Diuca-Finch (Diuca diuca), Paroaria cardinals, Magpie Tanager (Cissopis leveriana), and Schistochlamys tanagers. Most of this diverse set of species have thick yellowish or grayish bills with a curved and dark culmen, and most walk rather than hop. The common name for Gray-crested Finch in Spanish is Soldadito Gris (Jaramillo 2011, de Juana et al. 2012). The Latin binomial Lophospingus griseocristatus comes from Greek and Latin. The genus name derives from the Greek words "lophos", meaning "crest", and "spingos", meaning "finch". The specific epithet derives from the Latin words "griseus", "gray", and "cristatus", "crested" or "plumed" (Jobling 2010). Altogether, this bird’s name means "gray-crested finch".


© Bret Whitney

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Elliott, A. A., C. H. Richart, and K. J. Burns (2017). Gray-crested Finch (Lophospingus griseocristatus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.