Although a few pairs of snow buntings breed in the northern Scotland, they become much more numerous in the winter when they are joined by birds from Scandinavia, Alaska, Canada and Greenland.
They are large buntings with striking black and snowy white plumages. In the summer males have all white heads and underparts, black mantles and wing tips. Female snow buntings’ plumage is more mottled.
During the autumn and winter, snow buntings become more sandy coloured and males are more mottled, but in flight they will still look black and white.
Snow buntings eat seeds and insects and will forage and migrate in flocks with the birds at the back flying over and ahead of the birds at the front creating a wave formation.
Snow buntings breed further north than any other land-based bird.