Snow Bunting Life History


Habitat GrasslandsBreeds on rocky tundra. Winters in open weedy and grassy fields and along shores of lakes and oceans.Back to top


Food SeedsWeed and grass seeds, insects.Back to top


Nest Placement

Nest Ground

Nest Description

Open cup of moss and grass, lined with fine grasses, rootlets, and fur and feathers. Placed well back in cavity in rocks, such as cracks.

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size:2-7 eggs
Egg Description:Creamy white with variable brown spots and scrawls.
Condition at Hatching:Helpless, with long, gray-brown down.
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Behavior Ground ForagerWalks on ground and pecks at food. May jump up to take seeds from taller stems.Back to top


Conservation Low ConcernThere is little information on Snow Bunting population trends. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 30 million with 50% spending at least part of the year in Canada, and 25% wintering in the U.S. The species rates a 10 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Snow Bunting is a U.S.-Canada Stewardship species and is listed on the 2014 State of the Birds Report as a Common Bird in Steep Decline. Back to top


Lutmerding, J. A. and A. S. Love. Longevity records of North American birds. Version 2015.2. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory 2015.

Montgomerie, Robert and Bruce Lyon. 2011. Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

North American Bird Conservation Initiative. 2014. The State of the Birds 2014 Report. US Department of Interior, Washington, DC, USA.

Partners in Flight. 2017. Avian Conservation Assessment Database. 2017.

Sibley, David Allen. 2014. The Sibley guide to birds, second edition. Alfred A Knopf, New York.

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