SCIENTIFIC NAME: Calcarius Lapponicus
Males have a bold black face bordered by a swooping yellow-white line and a rich rufous patch on the back of the neck.
Females are similar but lack the extensive black.
Males and females retain an echo of face pattern but lack the blocks of color, becoming overall pale brown and streaked.
In all plumages, the tail is dark with white outer tail feathers.
Juveniles resemble non-breeding adults but they are duller, darker and are more streaked overall.
BILL: thick and yellow seed-eater's bill.
SIZE: measures about 5.9 - 6.3 inches in length, with a wingspan of 8.7 - 11.4 inches.
WEIGHT: weighs about 22.3 - 33.1 grams.
BREEDING PLUMAGE: black, yellow, white, and rufous.
WINTER PLUMAGE: pale brown.
Mostly seeds in winter and arthropods in the summer.
Breeds in arctic tundra. Winters in open habitats including used agricultural fields, turf farms, and coastal dunes.
BREEDS: Across Arctic Europe and Asia and in Canada and the northernmost United States.
WINTER: The Russian steppes, the southern United States, Northern Scandinavian arctic areas and down to coastal Southern Sweden, Denmark and Great Britain.
CALL: A dry, musical twitter “ticker-tik- tik”, or “ticky-tik” or “prrrt” often given in flight.
This is often preceded or followed by a short, clear “teu”.
During the breeding season, it gives a repeated piping “dyuee” followed by “treeu” after a pause.
SONG: Rich jingly warbling.
NEST: The female builds a cup-shaped nest with grass and moss and lines it with finer grass and feathers.
It is placed in a shallow depression in a moss or other vegetation in tundra.
EGGS: 4 - 6 whitish to pale gray-green eggs with dark markings.
INCUBATION: 11 - 13 days, female.
NESTLING PHASE: 6 - 10 days.
They are very social except while nesting, and often forage in flocks numbering in the thousands. They primarily forage by walking along the ground.