Snow Bunting

Plectrophenax nivalis

Snow Bunting


In the winter, snow buntings are white with black patches on their back and wings. In the summer they have rusty-coloured feathers on their heads and backs. They grow about 15 centimetres long.

Range & Habitat

Snow buntings only come to B.C. in the winter but nest in the Arctic in the summer. They live in open country like prairies and farmlands.

Diet & Behaviour

Like other sparrows, they eat insects and almost any kind of plant seed they can find. They have a sharp whistle call and sometimes make a purring sound.

Lifecycle & Threats

They nest in the Arctic tundra on rocky areas in nests made of grass and moss. Females lay from four to seven eggs. Their predators are mainly hawks and owls.


COSEWIC: Not at Risk
CDC: Yellow

More Information


Photo: Richard Towell