Afghan snowfinch

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Afghan snowfinch
Illustration of a male (left) and a female (right)
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Suborder: Passeri
Infraorder: Passerida
Superfamily: Passeroidea
Family: Passeridae
Genus: Montifringilla
Species: M. theresae
Binomial name
Montifringilla theresae
Meinertzhagen, 1937

Pyrgilauda theresae (Meinertzhagen, 1937)

The Afghan snowfinch (Montifringilla theresae), also known as Theresa's snowfinch, is a bird of the sparrow family and is an Afghan endemic found only in the Hindu Kush. The species was named by Richard Meinertzhagen after his cousin and companion, Theresa Clay, who was an expert on bird lice.

It is 13.5–15 cm long. The male is grey-brown with some white in the wings and a black face mask and two pronged patch on the throat. The female is a buff-tinged brown, with a weaker, greyer face mask and less white in the wings. There are short dark streaks on the mantle and a white subterminal band on the tail feathers other than the central pair. There is white on the upperwing coverts, secondaries and the inner primaries. The male has a brick red iris. It forms large flocks in winter, sometimes mixed with the white-winged snowfinch, the rock sparrow, and larks. The flight is heavy and straight. They feed on insects and small seeds.[3][4]

They breed in the hollows made by ground squirrels or marmots, lining the nest with hair and feathers. The alarm call is a sharp tsi and they make soft quaak calls in flight and a stridulating zig-zig.[3]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Montifringilla theresae". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Summers-Smith, J. Denis (2009). "Family Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)". In del Hoyo, Josep; Elliott, Andrew; Christie, David. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 14: Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-84-96553-50-7. 
  3. ^ a b Rasmussen, P.C., & Anderton, J.C. (2005). Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide. Volume 2. Smithsonian Institution & Lynx Edicions. p. 578. 
  4. ^ Clement, Peter; Harris, Alan; Davis, John (1993). Finches and Sparrows: an Identification Guide. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-03424-9.