Snow Bunting - Hebridean Birds
Western Isles Birds - Snow Bunting - Birdlife and Bird Sightings in the Hebrides

Snow buntings - These birds - so pretty - many spend the winter here - then go off to Scandinavia or Greenland - although there are a few that actually breed here.

Snow buntings are quite large for buntings with long wings. When the snow bunting flies you can see the large white wing patches.
Snow Bunting - Bird Sightings - Isle of Harris - Western Isles
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Bird Overview - Snow Bunting
Latin name
Plectrophenax nivalis


Similar Species
Reed Bunting
Lapland Bunting
The Snow buntings are quite large for buntings with long wings. When the snow bunting flies you can see the large white wing patches.

The breeding male has all white plumage and a black back; the breeding female is grey-black where the male is solid black.

In the winter males and females are mottled pale ginger, blackish and white above, and pale ginger and white below. The males have more white than the females. The snow buntings bill is yellow with a black tip, all black in summer males.

Seen often in The Western Isles seen in winter - these birds arrive from from late September and leave Feb or March for Greenland or Scandinavia although there are a few which breed in Scotland.

Length - 15 - 17cm(6 1/2 ins)- Weight 30 - 40g
The snow buntings Breed on mountain tops and coasts.
These birds eat insects in the summer - seeds and invertebrates in the winter. It forages in flocks
The distinctive call note is given in flight with its shrill twittering; the birds tumbled earthward, suddenly landing among the stones
In The Western Isles Snow Buntings nest only in crevices on the rocky tops of the hills. The nest is cup in a crevice lined with feathers and moss and grass stems - 4-6 eggs - 1 or 2 broods - May - July

Misc. Info
Unlike most birds with different breeding and non-breeding plumages, snow buntings molt only once a year. Despite its white and brown plumage which helps to conceal it in the snow - this little bird is very robust and has quite thick plumage.

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