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Regions > Americas > Red-crested finch

Red-crested finch

Location at the Zoo: Americas


South America









Scientific Name:

Coryphospingus cucullatus


: The red-crested finch measuring 13.5 cm has a scarlet bushy crest on its head with black stripes along the sides. The plumage on the top of its head is a wine colour red, turning crimson down the rump. The crown is seen when the crest is displayed. The wings and tail are browner in colour. The eyes have a narrow white ring and a brownish patch surrounding it. The females lack the red and black crown, are browner in colour but still have the crimson rump and the narrow, white eye ring. The throat is whitish, turning into a rosy pink further down.


: They inhabit Guyana, northeast Brazil along the lower Amazon up-river, but are more widespread in the interior, in the south. The territory stretches south and west through to Paraguay and Uruguay to north Argentina and east Bolivia. There is a small presence in the arid, montane valleys in north Peru. They have also been observed in Suriname.


: The red-crested finch is commonly found in tropical and/or subtropical dry forests and shrub land at elevations no higher than 1500 m. They also inhabit certain tropical and/or subtropical, moist lowland forests as well as degraded former forests and even arable, pasture land.


: They are mainly frugivorous, feasting on locally available fruit but will add insects and other invertebrates to their diet.

Reproduction and Development

: They generally breed from February through to August depending on the location. They build a shallow cup shaped nest from plant matter, fibre and animal hair fastened to the fork of a branch between 3 to 12 m from the ground. The female lays two white/buff coloured eggs with a wreath of brown or reddish brown spots at the larger end. The fledglings depend on the parents until they leave the nest several weeks after being hatched.


: The red-crested finch is common to the locally abundant arid scrub, drier woodland and agricultural areas. Although widespread in semi open and the more arid parts of South America, it is rarely seen near populated areas. During the non-breeding season, they gather in loose flocks often associating with other finches. They forage on the ground, especially along the grassy borders and within the tangles of woodlands. The male’s voice consists of a simple phrase repeated six times: “cheewit, weet-cheewit, weet-cheewit” etc.

Threats to Survival

: At present, the species is quite common and are not under any particular threat. This can change, of course, when habitat is destroyed for development of the agricultural, lumber or mining industry.


: IUCN: Least Concern; CITES: Not Listed

Zoo Diet

: Finch mix, softbill gelatine, mixed fruit, hard boiled eggs, mealworms, romaine lettuce, and real pasto.