This circumpolar bunting is also called "snowflake". His winter plumage is a brown crown and upperparts, with rufous patch on the cheek and along the neckline. The underparts are duller. Much white remains on the wing.
The female resembles the male, but is much duller.
When the "Snow Bunting" migrates in late fall, it travels in flocks, each bird swooping and veering in unison as they pass overhead. Only the white undersides of the wings and white bellies can be seen. They look liked giant snowflakes blowning before an autumn gust.
This lovely bird breeds from the Aleutians, Alaska and the Arctic islands south to northern Quebec, further north than any other species.
Calls or song.
The "Snow Bunting" whistles clear, sweet notes, sounding much like the laughter of children. They also utter tremulous, buzzy purring sounds.
Population and distribution.
These birds winter regularly across southern Canada and the northern United States. They may be found during snow fall, where they inhabit haystacks, barnyards and lakeshores lined with forest debris, but can also be sighted on beach parking lots searching for weed seeds.
They build their moss and sedge nest, lined with feathers and fur under a rock or in a cavity. The female "Snow Bunting" lays four to six white eggs, spotted with red/brown.