Conservation status: Amber
Snow buntings are large buntings, with striking `snowy' plumages. Males in summer have all white heads and underparts contrasting with a black mantle and wing tips. Females are a more mottled above. In autumn and winter birds develop a sandy/buff wash to their plumage and males have more mottled upperparts. Globally they breed around the arctic from Scandinavia to Alaska, Canada and Greenland and migrate south in winter. They are a scarce breeding species in the UK, in Scotland, making tham an Amber List species. They are more widespread in winter in the north and east when residents are joined by continental birds.
Snow bunting - first-winter female
Snow bunting - male in breeding plumage
Where to see them
Best looked for in winter on coastal sites in Scotland and eastern England (as far south as Kent).
When to see them
Most commonly seen in winter, arriving from late September and leaving in February and March.
What they eat
Seeds and insects
|Europe||UK breeding*||UK wintering*||UK passage*|
|-||60 pairs||10,000-15,000 birds||-|