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Pere David's Snowfinch - BirdForum Opus

Revision as of 21:51, 1 September 2017 by Deliatodd-18346 (talk | contribs) (Female flight image. References updated)
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Alternative names: Small Snowfinch; Small Ground-Sparrow; David's Snowfinch; Mongolian Snowfinch

Photo by tomjenner
Eastern Mongolia, August 2009
Pyrgilauda davidiana

Montifringilla davidiana


Photo by WickWelsh
South of Ulaan Bataar, Mongolia, June 2017

12 - 15cm (4¾-6 in). A small snowfinch with short wings and tail.

  • Black forehead, lores , chin and throat
  • Tawny-brown crown and upperparts
  • Streaked mantle
  • Pale whitish-buff supercilium curving down behind pale fawn-brown ear-coverts
  • Black alula and primary coverts (with pale bases)
  • Black flight-feathers with pale edging
  • White underparts, breast often light buffish washed

Sexes similar. Juveniles are paler and have no black on face.


Found in the Russian Altai, Transbaikalia, Mongolia and northern China.

Vagrants recorded in Turkmenistan and India (Sikkim).
Sparsely distributed but locally common.


The species is also sometimes placed in the genus Montifringilla.


Photo by WickWelsh
Between Ulaan Bataar and Dalanzadgad, Mongolia, July 2017

Two subspecies recognized[1]:


Stony plains, semi-desert and rocky plateaux with short dry grass. Often near water or marshes. Occurs at 1000 - 3000m, occasionally higher.


Usually seen on the ground in pairs or small flocks, rapidly moving. Searches dung of domestic animals for food. In larger flocks outside breeding season.


Feeds on seeds and insects.


Breeding season from May to August. Breeds solitary or in loose colonies. The nest is made of dry grass and placed in the burrow of a small mammal like suslik, pika or hamster. Lays 5 - 6 eggs.


A mainly sedentary species, descending to lower altitudes in winter.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  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

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