Pere David’s Snowfinch

In China, Pere David’s Snowfinch Pyrgilauda davidiana davidiana is resident from northeastern Qinghai (Qinghai Lake, Qilian Mountains) across Gansu and Ningxia to northeastern Inner Mongolia (Hulun Lake). Lives on stony, semi-desert plains with short, dry grass, usually near water, between 1000 m and 3000 m. In pair or flocks, the latter sometimes sizeable outside breeding season; moves quickly on ground, searching dung of sheep and cattle for seeds and insects. Often around colonies of pika, whose burrows it may use for nesting. Has distinctive black forehead, lores, chin, and throat. Crown and upperparts tawny-brown, with dark-brown streaking on mantle. Indistinct, whitish-buff supercilium and face sides contrast slightly with fawn-brown ear-coverts and neck sides. Alula black; primary coverts black with white bases; median and greater coverts has buff-white tips. Flight feathers black with buffish or white edging and white panel to base of secondaries. Tail blackish in center, white on sides, with black terminal band. Underparts white, breast often lightly washed buff. Juvenile paler, lacks black on face. Juvenile Blanford’s has greyer crown. Bill grey with black tip; feet black; iris dark brown. Twittering contact call. — Craig Brelsford


Daniel Bengtsson served as chief ornithological consultant for Craig Brelsford’s Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of China, from which this species description is drawn.

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