Snow Bunting 

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Plectrophenax Nivalis 

Snow Bunting

The plumage is white in the underparts and the wings and back have black and white on them.

MATING SEASON: Males are completely black and white with black tips in the wings, while females have the same color than males in the wings but have a red-brownish back.

WINTER SEASON: Both have a rufous color in the back.

SPRING: They do not molt instead their breeding coloration comes with the wearing and abrasion of the feathers.

BILL: short and pointed, yellow with a black tip (black in summer for males).

SIZE: measures about 5.5 - 7 inches in length.

WEIGHT: weighs about 30 - 40 grams.

COLOR: black, white, yellow, red-brown and rufous.

Grass and flowering-plant seeds as well as insects and spiders.

SUMMER: arctic tundra, nesting in rocky areas and foraging in patches of sedges and other vegetation.

WINTER: open fields, croplands with grain stubble, shorelines, and roadsides.

High Arctic tundra of North America, Ellesmere Island, Iceland, higher mountains of Scotland, Norway, Russia, North Greenland, Siberia, Novaya Zemlya, and Franz Josef Land.

WINTER - South of Canada, north of the United States, north of Germany, Poland, Ukraine, and east to central Asia.

SONG - variable, sweet, warbling phrase, delivered from a boulder or during a short, descending song flight “tzwee-tzwee-chu-wee-tu-wee”.

The song is fairly loud for a small bird.

CALLS - soft, undulating twittering “pirrr-rit” often followed by a clear, ringing “peeu”.

A rasping “trrree” can be heard coming from the flying flocks.

NEST: The female collects material and builds a thick cup-shaped structure made with grass and moss and lined with softer material such as finer grass, rootlets, plant down, feathers and fur.

EGGS: 2 - 8 whitish to pale blue-green eggs with brown spots on the larger end.

INCUBATION: 12 - 14 days, female fed by the male.

FLEDGLING PHASE: 10 - 17 days.

They are ground dwellers, walking or running to find seeds and insects.

Males fight and chase all territory intruders.

The oldest recorded Snow Bunting was a male, and at least 8 years, 9 months old.

Snow Bunting Infographic




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