In all plumages, this species is distinguished by rufous greater wing coverts and tertial edges, and by the white outermost set of tail feathers. The primary projection is quite long, with the primary tips evenly spaced. Alternate Male: Black covers the crown, face, and breast, highlighted by a whitish line extending behind the eye, around the cheek, and along the side of the breast. The back of the neck is chestnut. The upperparts are dark with light streaks and buffy feather edges. The belly is white, with black streaks along the sides and flanks. The bill is mostly yellow. Alternate Female: Similar to male, but lacking much of the black on the head and breast. The brown crown is streaked with black and shows a white central stripe. The buffy-brown auriculars are neatly outlined in black. The throat and upper breast show variable amounts of black mottling. Basic Adult: Buffier brown overall. Auriculars are clearly outlined in black. Breast is buffy, with males showing a band of black mottling across the breast, females showing brownish streaks.
Length: 15 (cm) Wingspan: 27 (cm)
Song is a high warble, given only on breeding grounds. Flight call is a dry rattle interspersed with tew notes.
Nests on tundra. Winters in agricultural fields, grasslands, roadsides, beaches.
Forms large flocks in winter, often associated with Horned Larks and Snow Buntings.
Forages on the ground for seeds and insects.
Expanded Life History
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