Snow Bunting

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Snow Bunting

 

(Plectrophenax nivalis), a bird of the family Emberizidae of the order Passeriformes. The snow bunting is the sole member of the genus Plectrophenax. It is 15–19 cm long and weighs 35–40 g. The male is white marked with black; in the autumn and winter the edges of the newest feathers are reddish.

The female is brownish. Snow buntings are found in the polar regions—on the arctic islands and in the tundra zone, as far south as Scotland and the Komandorskie Islands. The birds migrate for the winter to the forest-steppe and steppe zones. They settle in rocky or dry maritime tundra. Snow buntings nest in June and early July, building their nest on the ground among rocks or driftwood. The female lays four to seven eggs, which both parents incubate for 12 or 13 days. The snow bunting feeds on seeds, insects, and the green parts of plants.