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Snow Bunting

From Opus

Breeding malePhoto © by RobSvalbard, June 2003
Breeding male
Photo © by Rob
Svalbard, June 2003
Plectrophenax nivalis


[edit] Identification

Female,Winter plumagePhoto © by postcardcv
Female,Winter plumage
Photo © by postcardcv

14–18 cm (5½-7 in)

[edit] Breeding


  • Black back, legs, wing tips and bill
  • Rest of plumage white


  • Greyish-black back
  • Brown crown and cheeks
  • White wing patch

[edit] Winter

Female, Summer plumagePhoto © by peterdaySt. Paul Island, The Pribilofs, Alaska, July 2017
Female, Summer plumage
Photo © by peterday
St. Paul Island, The Pribilofs, Alaska, July 2017
  • Tawny-brown back
  • Gingery-buff crown, cheeks and chest patches
  • Buff underparts
  • Black-tipped yellow bill

[edit] Similar species

McKay's Bunting in Alaska is very similar but generally whiter.

[edit] Distribution

Found on the tundra of the northern hemisphere in North America and Eurasia. Winter visitor in Britain & Ireland (mostly mid Sep-Apr), mainly from Scandinavia and Greenland, but small numbers breed in Scotland.

[edit] Taxonomy

[edit] Subspecies

Four subspecies recognized[1]:

[edit] Habitat

Breeds on tundra in the north and on high mountain tops with similar habitat further south. Winters largely on sandy and shingle coasts, salt marsh and rough coastal fields.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Diet

The diet includes weed and grass seeds, and insects.

[edit] Breeding

It builds an open cup of moss and grass, lined with fine grasses, rootlets, and fur and feathers which is placed well back in cavity in rocks, such as cracks.

The clutch consists of 2-7 creamy white, with variable brown spots and scrawls.

[edit] Vocalisation

Listen in an external program

[edit] Gallery

Click on photo for larger image

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from
  2. Birdwatchers Pocket Guide ISBN 1-85732-804-3
  3. Wikipedia

[edit] External Links


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