The brilliantly red male is fittingly named and unmistakable. The female and juvenile are duller, but still recognizable with overall greenish-yellow tones, a yellow rump, and a thick pinkish bill. Rosefinches are similarly colored overall, but they have a smaller bill, a longer tail, and are more extensively streaked. Inhabits montane and hilly forests, where it usually moves around in small flocks, frequently perching on exposed branches and snags. Can be very sluggish and inactive. Gives rich slurred notes.
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