Snow Bunting

Martin Smart

Nanaimo, Canada

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Featured in “Canadiana” December 2010

The Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis) is sometimes colloquially called “snowflake” and is a passerine bird in the bunting family. It has a circumpolar Arctic breeding range throughout the northern hemisphere. It is fairly large and long-winged for a bunting, 15–18 cm long and with a wingspan of 32–38 cm, and weighing 26–50 g. In flight it is easily identified by its large white wing patches. Snow Buntings build their bulky nest in rock crevices. The eggs are blue-green, spotted brown, and hatch in 12–13 days. The young are ready to fly after a further 12–14 days. The breeding habitat is on tundra, treeless moors, and bare mountains. It is migratory, wintering a short distance further south in open habitats in northern temperate areas, typically on either sandy coasts, steppes, prairies, or low mountains.

Photographed this one whilst it was feeding at Clover point, Victoria, Vancouver Island,BC, Canada

Canon 40D
1/320sec f8 ISO 400
500mm lens + 1.4x converter

Artwork Comments

  • (Tallow) Dave  Van de Laar
  • Martin Smart
  • Gail Bridger
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