Guide to some birds of the Okhotsk region

EurasianJay StellarsSeeagle Redpoll BlakistonsFishowl LathamsSnipe JapaneseCrane Skylark LongtailedTit JuvenileSwan
Whooper Swan White-tailed Sea-Eagle Stellar's Sea-Eagle Hazel Grouse
Japanese Crane Far Eastern Curlew Latham's Snipe Ross's Gull
Blakiston's Fish-Owl Ural Owl Black Woodpecker Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
Eurasian Skylark Long-tailed Tit Snow Bunting Common Redpoll
Tree Sparrow Eurasian Jay Northern Raven Buller's Shearwater*
Swan Goose* Ashy Minivet* To Checklist To Bird Guide Top

Snow Bunting   Plectrophenax nivalis   Yuki-hoojiro

The Snow Bunting arrives in Hokkaido as a winter bird, and numbers vary considerably from year to year. They are normally first seen around November and stay until about the end of March. During the winter they move around over a large area and are rarely seen at the same place two days in a row.

The Snow Bunting's Japanese name literally means "white cheek" and they belong to the "White Cheek" genus (Hoojiro-zoku), but their silhouette is quite different from other members of this genus.

Both the winter and summer plumage is basically white, and its black wingtips stand out when it flies.

In the Okhotsk area, large flocks of several hundred to several thousand gather in some years from mid- to late March along the banks of Tofutsu Lake before they migrate to the breeding grounds, and we can hear their calls.


Male. Plumage changing from winter to summer. The summer plumage is a 2-tone black and white. The back and shoulder features of this individual have white and buff edges, its bill has a black hue, and and the base of the bill is still slightly yellow, which are features that still remain from the winter plumage. (Shari, 11 April 2003)


Males. Plumage changing from winter to summer. The white rump stands out. Their legs are long and tails are short compared to other members of its genus. Their bodies often have a more horizontal posture, producing a silhouette that is quite different from others in the genus. (Shari, 11 April 2003)
Males. Plumage changing from winter to summer. The white and black body provides camouflage protection in this environment. (Shari, 11 April 2003) Male. Plumage changing from winter to summer.
Feeding on the seeds of weeds. (Shari, 11 April 2003)