Snow Bunting - Plectrophenax nivalis


    Snow Buntings are large buntings, with striking `snowy' plumages. Males in summer have all white heads and underparts contrasting with a black mantle and wing tips. Females are a more mottled above. In autumn and winter birds develop a sandy/buff wash to their plumage and males have more mottled upperparts.

    Identification difficulty

    Best looked for in winter on coastal sites in Scotland and eastern England (as far south as Kent).

    When to see it

    Most commonly seen in winter, arriving from late September and leaving in February and March.

    Life History

    Feeds on seeds and insects.

    UK Status

    Globally they breed around the arctic from Scandinavia to Alaska, Canada and Greenland and migrate south in winter. They are a scarce breeding species in the UK, in Scotland, making them an Amber List species. They are more widespread in winter in the north and east when residents are joined by continental birds.

    VC55 Status

    Uncommon in Leicestershire and Rutland.

    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    UK Map