McKay's Bunting

Plectrophenax hyperboreus

Order

PASSERIFORMES

Family

Longspurs and Snow Buntings (Calcariidae)

Code 4

MKBU

Code 6

PLEHYP

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Near Threatened

The McKay's Bunting has a small breeding range, estimated globally at 300 square kilometers and confined to a small number of islands. Native to the United States, but having been spotted in Canada and Mexico, this bird prefers grassland and marine ecosystems. The global population of this bird is estimated at less than 6,000 individuals and while its range and size are slowly rising, current numbers still necessitate inclusion on the IUCN Red List. For this reason, the current evaluation status of the McKay's Bunting is Near Threatened.

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BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

McKay's Bunting: Large bunting, bright white body, black wing tips, black markings on back and tail. Large bill, legs, and feet are black. Said to be the whitest of all North American songbirds. Forages on ground. Swift flight, alternates raping wing beats with wings pulled to sides.


Range and Habitat

McKay's Bunting: This species has a very limited range. They breed on Hall Island and Saint Matthew Island in Bering Sea off the west coast of Alaska. They spend winters east to coast of western Alaska, parts of the Aleutian archipelago, and on Nunivak Island. These birds nest in coastal tundra habitats.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"tew"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The McKay's Bunting is one of North America's rarest songbirds, their population is estimated at less than 6,000 individuals.
  • At the moment it faces no immediate threats to survival, but given its small population, tiny range, and ground-nesting habits, it may be extremely vulnerable to introduced mammalian predators.
  • The name of this bird honours the American naturalist Charles McKay.
  • A group of buntings are collectively known as a "decoration", "mural", and "sacrifice" of buntings.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for McKay's Bunting

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Irina Rud-Volga

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