Snow Bunting

Plectrophenax nivalis

A common breeding bird in the Pribilofs, Snow Buntings can be found daily in good numbers across the upland rocky areas of the island. It is generally believed that some Snow Buntings remain on the island through most winters, but whether these individuals represent migrants from the north or are actually “Pribilovian” is unknown. Snow Buntings are common on Saint Paul by the beginning of the season, and numbers of adults remain steady until September, when the species forms large roving flocks, joined by northern migrants (and occasionally McKay’s Buntings). The identification of this handsome white and black passerine is straightforward. Check over flocks, and individual males, to ensure that they are all black-backed. McKay’s Buntings are rare, but occasionally a few males will be found on territory breeding with (usually) female Snow Buntings. Likely the best places for close study of Snow Buntings on Saint Paul are Kamanista and the rock wall behind Antone Lake.