White-rumped Snowfinch Onychostruthus taczanowskii occurs in Tibet and Qinghai to southwest Gansu and northwest Sichuan. HABITAT & BEHAVIOR Breeds around pika colonies (in whose burrows it nests and roosts) on stony alpine steppe and mountainsides, often near the edges of bogs, to 5100 m (16,730 ft.). In winter descends to 3500 m (11,480 ft.), when often around farms and villages. Runs and digs well. Has lark-like display flight; bows and bobs tail on landing. ID Combination of paleness, heavily mottled or streaked mantle, back and scapulars, and plain white rump distinguishes from other snowfinches; rump particularly noticeable in flight. Has greyish-white forehead and supercilium, and broad black lores and narrow black eyeline. Grey-brown mantle, back and scapulars are heavily streaked or mottled blackish, in contrast with paler grey (almost unstreaked) nape and sides of neck; grey-brown crown slightly streaked dark grey. Flight feathers and wing coverts brownish-black with broad white panel at base of flight feathers, narrow white tips to secondaries, and white tips to tertials, median and greater coverts. Tail long, brownish-black, with white sides and broad white corners, the corners most conspicuous in flight. Underparts greyish-white, slightly darker across breast. Juvenile more buff on upperparts, wings and tail. BARE PARTS Bill horn or yellow with black tip; feet black; iris dark brown. VOICE Weak, wheezy song (sounds a little like a mix between a European Goldfinch and a lark). — 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.