In all plumages, this species can be recognized its mostly white plumage and its bold black and white wing pattern in flight. Alternate Male: White overall, with a black back, black wing tips, and black inner tail feathers. The bill is black. Alternate Female: White underparts. Back is dark ashy-gray with white streaking. Gray streaks on crown and nape, with a rufous wash on the shoulder and wings. Wing shows more dark on leading edge than male, but still has extensive white patch and black tips. Basic Adult: White overall, with highly variable mix of gray, black, and warm rusty-brown on back and scapulars. Head mostly white, with rusty brown smudge on auriculars and varying amount of rusty-brown on crown and nape. Underparts entirely white, except for partial collar of rusty-brown on sides of upper breast and some buffy rusty-brown wash on flanks. Wing pattern like Alternate. Bill is dull yellow.
Length: 16 (cm) Wingspan: 30 (cm)
Song is a hoarse repeated warble. Flight calls include a sharp tew, a short buzz, soft rattle.
Nests in rocky cavities surrounded by tundra. In winter, found on beaches, short grasslands, agricultural stubble fields.
In winter, often found in large swirling flocks.
Forages on the ground for seeds, insects.
Expanded Life History
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