any of the 21 or so species of the genus Carpodacus, of the songbird family Carduelidae, sometimes placed in the Fringillidae. Rosefinches are about 15 centimetres (6 inches) long and mostly gray or brownish; males are red on the head, breast, and rump. The common, or scarlet, rosefinch (C. erythrinus) of Eurasia, sometimes called scarlet grosbeak, and the purple finch (C. purpureus), breeding in northern North America, are alike in having the head wholly red and the underparts virtually unstreaked. The house finch (C. mexicanus), with red forehead band and streaked underparts, is a dooryard bird throughout western North America; it is often called linnet. This species was introduced (1940) on Long Island, N.Y., and is spreading along the Atlantic seaboard; it is also established in Hawaii. The rose-breasted rosefinch (C. puniceus) breeds at 5,500 metres (18,000 feet) in the Himalayas-perhaps higher than any other songbird.
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