BIRDS OF ICELAND : Plectrophenax nivalis, Snow Bunting

Plectrophenax nivalis;  the snow bunting is a bird of barren rocky areas but is also common in low grade heather lands. It can be found all over Iceland. In summer, the black-and-white male can easily be recognized. The female however is more greyish and can easily be confused with wheatears. In winter the males resemble more or less the females. However, the heavy finch-like beaks makes clear that this bird is not at all related to the wheatears. However, the chicks are obviously fed with insects! It nestles on the ground in the typically rugged habitat. A part of the population is all-year resident of Iceland but during the winter they leave the breeding areas to roam about wherever food can be found, for example in urban areas. Other snow buntings leave for Scotland, while Greenland snow buntings may stay on Iceland in the winter. By the second half of summer one can see the fledglings of the juvenile snow buntings. They have greyish heads and necks and, unlike the adults at that time, yellow beaks.

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A brief introduction to Iceland birds
Text & Photographs by Dick Vuijk
- unless stated otherwise

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Show other photo's of the Snow Bunting:
 Female Snow Bunting.
 A female Snow Bunting with insect larva in beak.
 Photo of a juvenile.
 Reload first photo

 Female Snow Bunting.
 Female Snow Bunting with insect larva.
 Photo of a juvenile.
 Reload first photo

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