Mobile bird identification
Bird Field Guide
Adult Male (Winter)

Snow Bunting

Plectrophenax nivalis
Bunting Menu
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The Snow Bunting breeds in colder parts of Northern Europe and locally in parts of highland Scotland. In winter migrant birds can appear in more Southern areas.

In Summer time the Snow Bunting breeds in mountains and tundra. In the winter they tend to move to coastal areas to feed and migrant birds can turn up almost anywhere.
The Snow Bunting is often as it's name suggests seen on snowy mountain tops and often around Scottish ski resorts. A flock of Snow Buntings flitting around is a charming site and are often nick named 'snowflakes' due to their fluttering white wings.
Order: Passeriformes

Family: Calcarriidae

Genus: Plectrophenax

Species: P. nivalis
In Summer the male Snow Bunting is a distinctive small black and white bird, unlikely to be confused with other birds. Note the bill also turns black in summer.
The female is difficult to distinguish from the male in winter, her back tends to be darker brown with more black, she shows slightly less white on her wings and her cap tends to be browner.
Male Snow Bunting identifiction
Male Snow Bunting in summer plumage
Juvenile Snow Bunting
Male Snow Bunting flying
Female Snow Bunting identification
Juvenile Snow Bunting flying
Adult Male (Summer)

The Snow Bunting in winter has white undersides, white wings, a sandy-brown back, yellow bill and short black legs.

(Bill should be black)
Red-brown breast smudges
Short black legs
Brown cap
White wings
Black back and wing tips
Sandy brown back
White underside and head
Female Snow Bunting
Thanks to:
Male Snow Bunting in summer plumage
Thanks to:
Male Snow Bunting in winter plumage
Adult Female
Dark orange-brown cap & yellow bill
Black and brown streaked back, more greyish in summer
Slighly smaller wing bar than male
Only small white bars on wings
Plain greyish head
Unlike the male and female Snow Bunting the juvenile bird shows little white on the wings in flight, often causing some confusion with other buntings and finches.
Male Snow Buntings in winter plumage