French: Niverolle alpine German: Schneesperling Spanish: Gorrión alpino
Subspecies and Distribution
M. n. nivalis
(Linnaeus, 1766) – S Europe from N Spain, Pyrenees, the Alps and Corsica E to Greece.
M. n. leucura
Bonaparte, 1855 – S & E Asia Minor.
M. n. alpicola
(Pallas, 1811) – Caucasus, and N Iran E to Afghanistan.
M. n. gaddi
Zarudny & Loudon, 1904 – Zagros Mts, in SW & S Iran.
M. n. tianshanica
Keve-Kleiner, 1943 – W & C Tien Shan (Kazakhstan) S to N Pamirs (N Tajikistan).
M. n. groumgrzimaili
Zarudny & Loudon, 1904 – E Tien Shan, NW China (N Xinjiang) and Altai to C Mongolia.
M. n. kwenlunensis
Bianchi, 1908 – mountains of S Xinjiang (Kunlun Shan, Altun Shan and Nan Shan), in SW China.
17–17·5 cm; 31–57 g. A large, plumpish, finch-like bird with relatively long wings and tail; bill stout and pointed, longer in summer (with change in diet... read more
Song, by male from high perch or in display-flight, a complex mix of varied buzzy chirps, with much... read more
Barren rocky ground with cliffs, also meadows above tree-line and up to snow-line, frequently near... read more
Food and feeding
In winter mainly seeds, including undigested seeds in droppings of horses, but also takes scraps at ski resorts; at other times of year... read more
Season May–Jul/Aug; two broods. Usually breeds in small loose colonies of 2–6 pairs, also solitarily; defends small territory.... read more
Mainly resident; some descent to lower altitudes in winter, particularly in E of range, but many... read more
Status and conservation
Not globally threatened. Common, but generally local. Has probably benefited from increased winter occupation of alpine resorts by humans. European population in 1980s was... read more
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