McKay's Bunting

Plectrophenax hyperboreus




Longspurs and Snow Buntings (Calcariidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Pale green with light brown spots

Number of Eggs:

3 - 5

Incubation Days:

10 - 16

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

In rock crevice, building, nest box, or on ground under grass tussock or moss hummock.

Nest Material:

Lined with fine grasses., Grasses





McKay's Bunting: Large bunting with bright white body, black wing tips, and black markings on back and tail. Large bill, legs, and feet are black. Female has black-streaked back. Winter adult and juvenile are suffused with orange-brown on heads, sides and backs, and have yellow bills.

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.

Breeding and Nesting

McKay's Bunting: Three to five pale green eggs with light brown spots are laid in a nest made of grass and lined with finer materials. Incubation ranges from 10 to 16 days and is carried out by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

McKay's Bunting: Eats seeds, spiders, flowers, buds, and insects; forages on the ground.

Readily Eats

Safflower, Apple Slices, Suet, Millet, Peanut Kernels, Fruit


McKay's Bunting: Song is a loud, trilled, flutelike warbling. Call is abrasive "tew."

Similar Species

McKay's Bunting: Snow Bunting breeding adult has a black or gray back, and more black on wings and tail.

Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X