A large bunting, with striking 'snowy' plumages, the snow bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis) is the most northerly recorded passerine in the world. An Arctic specialist, that breeds in the Arctic (from Scandinavia to Canada), and winters in the UK and North America, males in summer have all white heads and underparts contrasting with a black mantle and wing tips. Females are a more mottled above. The scientific name Plectrophenax nivalis is derived from Greek. Plectrophenax refers to the long straight hind claw, and Nivalis is a Latin word for snowy. In autumn and winter birds develop a sandy/buff wash to their plumage and males have more mottled upperparts. It breeds on rocky open tundra, on sea cliffs, and sometimes in human settlements, preferring areas with boulder fields and rocky outcrops, and usually avoiding the wet tundra. In winter, it is found in open lowland country, such as stubble fields, steppes, short grass prairies, farmland, grassy sand dunes, lake shores, and beaches.