A small, ghostly-white bird of Northern Alaska. Alternate Adult male is nearly entirely white with black flight feathers, black spots on tertials, black tips on tail feathers, black legs, short black bill, and black eye. Basic Adult male has limited rusty tones on crown, face, and shoulders. Alternate female has black streaking on back and more extensive black on tertials and wing coverts, but retains large white panel in wings. Immature has rusty tones on head, shoulders, back, and wings, and yellow bill. Similar and more-widespread Snow Bunting is darker, always with dark back, but can be difficult to separate in female and immature plumages.
Length: 17 (cm) Wingspan: 36 (cm)
Arctic tundra, open areas, rocky shores, barren ground.
Usually on ground, sometimes flocks with Snow Buntings. Nests in hollow logs and rocky crevices. Not studied extensively due to remote, limited range and small population, estimated at 5,000 individuals; one of North America's rarest songbirds.
Forages on the ground; eats mostly seeds and insects.
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