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Afghan Snowfinch - BirdForum Opus

Alternative names: Theresa's Snowfinch; Theresa's Ground-sparrow; Meinertzhagen's Snowfinch: Afghan Ground-sparrow; Bar-tailed Snowfinch

Pyrgilauda theresae

Montifringilla theresae


13.5-15 cm

  • Greyish-brown
  • Black face mask
  • Some white in the wings


  • Buffy-tinged brown
  • Facial mask is weaker and greyer
  • Less white in the wings

Both sexes

  • Outer tail feathers tipped black
  • Tip of primaries almost reach tip of tail in standing bird

Similar species

Superficially similar to White-winged Snowfinch but Afghan Snowfinch is smaller and slighter build, has less white in wing and fewer contrasts in plumage.


Found in northern Afghanistan and adjacent extreme southern Tajikistan. Some birds migrate in winter to southern Turkmenistan.
Common but very local and with a very small range.


This is a monotypic species.
Sometimes treated conspecific with Blanford's Snowfinch.
Also placed in genus Montifringilla.


Found on open, stony ground, flat steppes and mountain slopes from 2400 - 3000m. In winter also in farmland.


Feeds on small insects and seeds. Forages on ground, running and digging with feet and bill. Usually in small groups, in winter in larger flocks with Rock Sparrow, White-winged Snowfinch and larks. Does not associate with other Snowfinches in summer.
Breading season in June. Breeds in loose colonies. The nest is made of animal fur and feathers and placed in the hole of a souslik (or other small rodent). The nest may be 1m or more away from the entrance. Lays 5 eggs.
Mostly a resident species but some descend to lower altitudes reaching as far as Turkmenistan.


  1. Clements, JF. 2009. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2009. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2009. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 14: Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553507
  3. Rasmussen, PC and JC Anderton. 2005. Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8487334672
  4. Birdforum Thread discussing this species

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.