Buntings and New World Sparrows (Emberizidae)

McKay's Bunting (Plectrophenax hyperboreus) - HBW 16, p. 506

French: Plectrophane blanc German: Beringschneeammer Spanish: Escribano de McKay

Taxonomy: Plectrophenax hyperboreus Ridgway, 1884, St Michael Island, south shore of Norton Sound, Alaska, USA.
Molecular studies indicate that genus is closely related to Calcarius, and also appears to be a sister-taxon to Rhynchophanes; has been suggested that these three genera be placed in a separate family, Calcariidae. Often considered conspecific with P. nivalis, but juvenile plumages differ; also, interbreeding between the two is minimal, present species arriving on restricted breeding grounds earlier and apparently occupying most/all of suitable breeding sites. Monotypic.

Distribution: Breeds on islands of Bering Sea, mainly on Hall I and St Matthew I, rarely St Paul (Pribilofs) and St Lawrence I; non-breeding on coast of W & SW Alaska.

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