American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A finch (Plectrophenax nivalis) of northern regions, having predominantly white winter plumage. Also called snowflake.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A kind of snowbird, Plectrophanes nivalis, a bunting of the family Fringillidæ, which inhabits arctic and cold temperate regions of both hemispheres, and is chiefly white, varied with black or brown. Also called snowbird, snowflake, snowfleck, snowfligh, snowfowl. In full plumage, rarely seen in the United States, the bird is pure-white, with the bill, feet, middle of back, and the wings and tail in part jet-black. In the usual plumage the white is overlaid with rich, warm brown in various places, and the black is not pure or continuous. The length is 7 inches, the extent of wings 12½. This bird is a near relative of the longspurs, as the Lapland, but has the hind claw curved, and is sometimes therefore placed in another genus (Plectrophenax). It breeds only in high latitudes, moving south in the fall in flocks, often of vast extent. It nests on the ground, lines the nest with feathers, and lays from four to six variegated eggs.
- n. A finch, Plectrophenax nivalis, having white plumage; it is widely distributed in northern latitudes.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Zoöl.) See Snowbird, 1.
- n. white Arctic bunting
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