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White-rumped Snowfinch - BirdForum Opus

Alternative names: White-rumped Ground-sparrow; Taczanowski's Snowfinch; Mandelli's Snowfinch

Photo by china guy
The Ruo Er Gai, Sichuan, China
Onychostruthus taczanowskii

Montifringilla taczanowskii, Pyrgilauda taczanowskii


15 - 17cm. A large, pale snowfinch.

  • Broad white rump-patch
  • Pale head contrasting with strongly streaked mantle
  • Large white double wing-bars
  • White panel and wide terminal band on secondaries
  • White forehead and broad supercilium over black eyelinge
  • Mostly dark longish tail with very broad white corners
  • Pale, dark-tipped bill

Sexes similar. Juveniles are fluffier and smaller-billed but otherwise identical to fresh adults.


Found in the Himalayas and the Tibetian Plateau from Ladakh (India) east over Tibet and to Qinghai, southwest Gansu and northwest Sichuan (China). Also in north Nepal and Sikkim (India).
Common in most of its range but rather scarce in Nepal and Ladakh.


The different authorities don't agree about the genus of this species. Clements1 places it still in Montifringilla while Dickinson3 (and the IOC) has it in Onychostruthus and the HBW2 in Pyrgilauda.


Flat steppe and barren alpone rocky areas.
Found at 3500 - 5100m.


Feeds on small insects and seeds. Forages mainly on the ground, sometimes running rapidly on its long legs. Usually seen singly or in pairs.
Breeding recorded in July. The nest is a mat of roots and grasses, placed inside a hole of a small mammal (mostly pika). Lays 3 - 5 eggs.
A resident species with some short-distance movements in winter.


  1. Clements, JF. 2011. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to August 2011. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019. Spreadsheet available at http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/downloadable-clements-checklist
  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. Dickinson, EC, ed. 2003. The Howard and Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World. 3rd ed., with updates to October 2008 (Corrigenda 8). Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0691117010
  4. Rasmussen, PC and JC Anderton. 2005. Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8487334672

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