Distribution Britain 42 (200%) Ireland 0
Numbers breeding: Britain 85 Ireland 0
European status: 350,000 (0% in Britain and Ireland)
British population trend: may be stable
Snow Buntings were first proved to breed at the end of the 19th century and fluctuate in numbers from year to year. A few singing birds (and even breeding records) come from Orkney and Shetland (and even St Kilda) but the real centre of the population is the tops of the mountains and particularly Cairngorm. An excess of males is often reported and they are of both the nivalis and insulae races, but more of the latter. Recently it has been realised that there may be as many as 70 to 100 pairs in a good year rather than the handful of pairs previously thought to be the norm. Global warming may banish the bird's habitat from Scotland but, otherwise, they seem secure.
Smith, R.D. 1996 Ringing & Migration: 17, 123-136.
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From The State of the Nations Birds
Copyright © 2000 by Chris Mead