In breeding plumage, male Snow Buntings are unmistakable, with white bodies, long, black wings, and white wing-patches. In winter plumage, males are whitish, with black streaks down the back and a rusty wash over the upperparts. The tail is white, bordering a black wedge. The wings are mostly white with black tips. Females in non-breeding plumage look like non-breeding males. During the breeding season, females look similar to breeding-season males, but the black back is streaked with white, and the head is streaky gray. Unlike most birds with different breeding and non-breeding plumages, buntings molt only once a year. In the fall, they molt into the non-breeding plumage. By spring, the outer tips of the feathers have worn off to reveal the breeding plumage underneath.

 

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