Fringilla hyemalis, Linn. Syst. Nat. Ed. 10. p. 183.—Ch. Bonaparte, Synopsis of Birds of the United States, p. 109.
Emberiza hyemalis, Linn. Syst. Nat. Ed. 12. p. 308.
Snow Bird, Fringilla nivalis, Wilson, American Ornithology, vol. ii. p. 129. Pl. 16. fig. 6.
Adult Male. Plate XIII. Fig. 1.
Bill short, rather small, conical, very acute; upper mandible a little broader than the lower, very slightly declinate at the tip, rounded on the sides, as is the lower, which has the edges inflected and acute; the gap line straight, not extending to beneath the eye. Nostrils basal, roundish, concealed by the feathers. Head rather large. Neck short. Body full. Legs of moderate length, slender; tarsus longer than the middle toe, covered anteriorly with a few longish scutella; toes scutellate above, free, the lateral ones nearly equal; claws very slender, greatly compressed, acute and slightly arched, that of the hind toe little larger.
Plumage soft and blended. Wings shortish, curved, rounded, the third and fourth quills longest, the second nearly as long, the first little shorter. Tail long, forked, the lateral feathers curved outwards a little towards the tip.
Bill white, tinged with red, dark coloured at the tip. Iris blackish-brown. Feet and claws flesh-coloured. Head, neck, fore part of the breast, back, wings and upper part of the sides, blackish-grey, deeper on the head. Quills margined with whitish; tail of the same dark colour as the wings, excepting the two outer feathers on each side, which are white, as are the lower breast and abdomen.
Length 6¼ inches, extent of wings 9; beak ⅓ along the ridge, ½ along the gap; tarsus ¾, middle toe ½.
Adult Female. Plate XIII. Fig. 2.
The female differs from the male in being of a lighter grey, tinged on the back with brown. Length 5½ inches.