White-winged Snowfinch

The White-winged Snowfinch (Montifringilla nivalis), or just Snowfinch, is a small passerine sparrow that is a found across southern Europe and through central Asia to western China. Its habitat is bare mountains, generally over 4900 feet. Four subspecies are recognized.

This sparrow is a large stocky bird that is 6.5 to 7.5 inches in length. It has brown upperparts, white underparts and a gray head. The wing panel is white, long and narrow. In the summer, the bill is black and there is a black bib. The bib is not present in the winter and the bill is more yellow as well. Sexes are similar. In flight, it shows black wings with huge white wing panels, and white edged black tail. The song is a chattering with many trills. It has a variety of creaky or rolling calls.

White-winged Snowfinch’s food is mainly seeds with some insects. It is fearless, and will forage around ski resorts. It is hardy, and rarely descends below 3300 feet. It nests in crevices or rodent burrows, laying 3-4 eggs.