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Black-winged Snowfinch - BirdForum Opus

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Alternative names: Adam's Snowfinch; Tibet Snowfinch; Tibetan Snowfinch (wich is more commonly used for Montifringilla henrici!)

Montifringilla adamsi
Photo by James Eaton
Damiga, Tibet, China, June 2010



  • White carpal patch and panel in greater coverts of largely black wings
  • Slightly curved terminal tail-band
  • Greyish head with dark grey (not black) throat

Females have slightly browner wings and a fainter throat spot. Juveniles are similar but warmer brown.

Similar species

Has shorter wings and tail than White-winged Snowfinch and only a narrow white slash in secondaries. No contrasting pale submoustachial (as in White-winged Snowfinch and Tibetan Snowfinch).


Found in the Himalayas from Kashmir to Laddakh (India), Nepal and Sikkim. On the Tibetian Plateau from Kunlun Shan to Qinghai and Sichuan (China).
Fairly common to common in its range. Rare in Sikkim.


It has at times been considered a part of White-winged Snowfinch and also conspecific with Tibetan Snowfinch. All three form a superspecies.


There are 2 subspecies:

  • M. a. adamsi:
  • M. a. xerophila:
  • Western China (north-western Nan Shan Mountains to Astin Tagh Mountains)


Dry shrubland and open stony hillsides. Also in the neighbourhood of upland villages. Occurs at 3500 - 5200m, usually at lower altitudes than White-winged Snowfinch.


Feeds on seeds and insects.
Forages on the ground, often at the edge of snowfields. Usually seen in pairs or family groups, outside breeding season in larger flocks.
Breeding season is from May to July. Breeds in loose colonies, sometimes also isolated pairs. The nest is a cup made of grass and wool. It's placed in a rock crevice or in a hole under a boulder, sometimes in the burrow of a pika. Lays 4 eggs.
A nomadic species.


  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. Avibase

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.