Cassin's Finch Haemorhous cassinii


Justification of Red List Category
After having undergone moderately rapid declines over the past decades, the declines now seem to have slowed down. The population may now actually be stabilizing, and the rate of decline may not have approached the threshold for Vulnerable for at least five years. The species has therefore been downlisted to Least Concern.

Population justification
Partners in Flight estimate the global population to number 3 million mature individuals (A. Panjabi in litt. 2017).

Trend justification
This species has undergone a significant decline over the last decades in North America (69% decline between 1974 and 2014 based on Partners in Flight, A. Panjabi in litt. 2017). Recent information the North American Breeding Bird Survey only shows non-significant declines in this species, which would not approach the threshold for listing as Vulnerable (Sauer et al. 2017). Using data from 2006 (three generations ago) to 2015 gives an annual decline of 0.56% (2.24% decline to 1.36% increase). Extrapolating these trends forwards would give an overall population reduction of 6.52% (23.80% reduction to 17.60% increase) over the next three generations. Population reductions have been occurring at this approximate rate for some time now (at least 5 years).

Distribution and population

Cassin’s Finch (Haemorhous cassinii) is found in montane coniferous forest in the mountains of North America. It occurs from British Columbia and southern Alberta in western Canada through the Rocky Mountains in the U.S.A., with wintering populations occurring south into northern Mexico (although at lower elevations than during the breeding season) (Clement et al. 1993, Hahn 1996). Migration appears to be erratic and possibly dependent on food supply in the breeding range (Clement et al. 1993, Hahn 1996). Population trends should therefore probably be viewed with some caution due to apparent lack of site fidelity (Hahn 1996).


The species inhabits montane and subalpine coniferous forests. It is found in pine, fir, spruce and aspen forests, preferring dry, semi-arid open areas (Hahn 1996, Clement 2019). During the breeding season, the species occurs between 1,000 and 3,000 m; during the non-breeding season it may also be found in lower elevations in similar habitat and occasionally in urban areas (Clement 2019).


There is little information on potential threats to the species, and in fact its preference for more open habitats suggests that selective, or small-scale, forest clearance should not have too much of a negative impact on the species (Hahn 1996). It has been suggested that climate change could be an important future threat though, as the forests where it occurs are predicted to become drier, with concomitant increases in fire frequency and potential increases in pest infestations (G. Butcher in litt. 2016).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway

No targeted actions are known for this species, but it is on the watch list as part of the State of North America's Birds (North American Bird Conservation Initiative 2016).

Conservation Actions Proposed

Continue to monitor the population and its trends. Determine what the threats to the species are and develop appropriate conservation actions. Work with owners and managers of montane pine forests to ensure that logging practices are beneficial to the species.


Text account compilers
Westrip, J., Hermes, C., Bird, J., Harding, M., Sharpe, C.J.

Butcher, G., Panjabi, A., Rosenberg, K. & Wells, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Haemorhous cassinii. Downloaded from on 30/06/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 30/06/2022.