This family includes Longspurs and Snow Buntings. They are mainly found in North America and Eurasia. There are six species divided over three genera, of which two show hybridization (Calcarius and Plectrophenax), for instance Chestnut-collared Longspur (C. ornatus) x McCown’s Longspur (C. mccownii) (Sibley & Pettingill, 1955).

Even intergeneric hybridization has been documented, namely between Snow Bunting (P. nivalis) and Lapland Longspur (C. lapponicus) in Canada (Macdonald et al., 2012).

Snow Bunting is also known to hybridize with McKay’s buntings (P. hyperboreus) (Sealy, 1969). Demographic analyses indicated gene flow between these species (Maley & Winker, 2010, Winker et al., 2018).


Snow Bunting and McKay's Bunting

Snow Bunting and McKay’s Bunting



Macdonald, C. A., Martin, T., Ludkin, R., Hussell, D. J., Lamble, D. & Love, O. P. (2012). First Report of a Snow Bunting× Lapland Longspur Hybrid. Arctic, 344-348.

Maley, J. M. & Winker, K. (2010). Diversification at high latitudes: speciation of buntings in the genus Plectrophenax inferred from mitochondrial and nuclear markers. Molecular Ecology 19, 785-797.

Sealy, S. G. (1969). Apparent hybridization between snow bunting and McKay’s bunting on St. Lawrence Island, Alaska. The Auk, 350-351.

Sibley, C. G. & Pettingill, O. S. (1955). A hybrid longspur from Saskatchewan. The Auk, 423-425.

Winker, K., Glenn, T.C., Faircloth, B.C. (2018) Ultraconserved elements (UCEs) illuminate the population genomics of a recent, high-latitude avian speciation event. PeerJ 6:e5735.


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