A large finch. Adult male is deep brick red to bright red, to yellowish or orange-red on head, breast, sides, back, and rump. Blackish-brown flight feathers, grayish to whitish throat and under eyes; wings with two white wing-bars; tail long and moderately notched; lateral and posterior underparts grayish. Female slightly smaller, entirely gray below and on back. Head and rump yellowish to reddish bronze. Otherwise similar to male (Adkisson 1999).
For a comprehensive review of the conservation status, habitat use, and ecology of this and other Montana bird species, please see Marks et al. 2016, Birds of Montana.
Western Hemisphere Range
In Bozeman area, vertical migration periods are March 20 to April 20 and October 1 to November 10.
Open coniferous forests of north-western mountain ranges and in coastal and island rain forests of Alaska and British Columbia. Always most common in places where forest is open (Adkisson 1999).
During most of the year 99% of diet is vegetable matter, especially buds, seeds and fruits. Feeds young a diet of mainly insects and spiders often mixed with vegetable matter (Adkisson 1999).
One nesting per season. Female alone builds nest. Clutch size is usually 3 or 4 eggs (Adkisson 1999). Near Fortine, flying young seen July 27. Nesting dates probably similar to those for Colorado: June 23 to August 25. Young seen begging for food on September 1.