Family Old World Sparrows (Passeridae)

Least Concern

Small Snowfinch (Pyrgilauda davidiana)


French: Niverolle de David German: Daviderdsperling Spanish: Gorrión de David
Other common names: Small Ground-sparrow, Pere David's Snowfinch

Pyrgilauda davidiana

J. P. Verreaux

, 1871,

#R“Mountains of Chinese Tibet” = plains of the Ourato (Suiyuan), Inner Mongolia


Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. d. potanini Sushkin, 1925 – Russian Altai E to SE Transbaikalia and E Mongolia.
  • P. d. davidiana J. P. Verreaux, 1871 – S Mongolia and N China (S & E Inner Mongolia S to NE Qinghai).
  • Descriptive notes

    12–15 cm; 20–25 g. One of the smaller ground-sparrows; relatively short wing and tail noticeable in flight. Nominate race has forehead, lores, chin and throat... read more


    Rather silent; flocks give constant quiet twittering call as contact.


    Semi-desert, stony plains and rocky plateaux with short dry grass, desert edge, usually close to... read more

    Food and feeding

    Poorly studied. Small seeds of grasses and dwarf alpine plants, and insects. All food items delivered to nestlings in NE Tibet were insects... read more


    Season May–Jul/early Aug. Breeds as solitary pair or in loose colony. Strongly territorial. Nest constructed from dry grass, wool and... read more


    Mainly sedentary; some post-breeding descent to lower altitudes, even to N of breeding range.... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Sparsely distributed, but locally common to abundant.

    Recommended citation

    Summers-Smith, D. & de Juana, E. (2020). Small Snowfinch (Pyrgilauda davidiana). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 20 February 2020).