The genus was introduced by the French naturalist Jules Verreaux in 1871 with Père David's snowfinch as the type species. The name is a portmanteau of the genera Pyrgita Cuvier 1817, "sparrow", and Alauda Linnaeus, 1758, "lark".
The genus contains four species:
|Image||Scientific name||Common Name||Distribution|
|Pyrgilauda davidiana||Père David's snowfinch||Mongolia, southern Siberia and northern China|
|Pyrgilauda ruficollis||Rufous-necked snowfinch||Uttarakhand, Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan.|
|Pyrgilauda blanfordi||Blanford's snowfinch||China, India, Nepal, and Pakistan|
|Pyrgilauda theresae||Afghan snowfinch||Afghanistan|
These species are sometimes included in the genus Montifringilla.
|Rufous-necked snowfinch (Pyrgilauda ruficollis)|
Verreaux, J, 1871
The Afghan snowfinch (Pyrgilauda theresae) is a passerine bird of the sparrow family Passeridae, endemic to the northern parts of the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan. There are no major threats to the species despite its restricted range, so it is assessed as least concern on the IUCN Red List. This species is mostly a seed-eater, supplementing its diet with some insects. It builds its nest in the burrows or hollows of ground-dwelling rodents, lined with hair or feathers.Allan Octavian Hume
Allan Octavian Hume, CB ICS (4 June 1829 – 31 July 1912) was a member of the Imperial Civil Service (later the Indian Civil Service), a political reformer, ornithologist and botanist who worked in British India. He was one of the founders of the Indian National Congress. A notable ornithologist, Hume has been called "the Father of Indian Ornithology" and, by those who found him dogmatic, "the Pope of Indian ornithology".As an administrator of Etawah, he saw the Indian Rebellion of 1857 as a result of misgovernance and made great efforts to improve the lives of the common people. The district of Etawah was among the first to be returned to normality and over the next few years Hume's reforms led to the district being considered a model of development. Hume rose in the ranks of the Indian Civil Service but like his father Joseph Hume, the radical MP, he was bold and outspoken in questioning British policies in India. He rose in 1871 to the position of secretary to the Department of Revenue, Agriculture, and Commerce under Lord Mayo. His criticism of Lord Lytton however led to his removal from the Secretariat in 1879.
He founded the journal Stray Feathers in which he and his subscribers recorded notes on birds from across India. He built up a vast collection of bird specimens at his home in Shimla by making collection expeditions and obtaining specimens through his network of correspondents.
Following the loss of manuscripts that he had long been maintaining in the hope of producing a magnum opus on the birds of India, he abandoned ornithology and gave his collection to the Natural History Museum in London, where it continues to be the single largest collection of Indian bird skins. He was briefly a follower of the theosophical movement founded by Madame Blavatsky. He left India in 1894 to live in London from where he continued to take an interest in the Indian National Congress, apart from taking an interest in botany and founding the South London Botanical Institute towards the end of his life.Blanford's snowfinch
Blanford's snowfinch (Pyrgilauda blanfordi), or plain-backed snowfinch, is a species of bird in the sparrow family.
It is found in China, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. Its natural habitat is temperate grassland.
Its common name commemorates the English zoologist William Thomas Blanford.List of bird genera
List of bird genera concerns the chordata class of aves or birds, characterised by feathers, a beak with no teeth, the laying of hard-shelled eggs, and a high metabolic rate.Montifringilla
Montifringilla is a genus of passerine birds in the sparrow family Passeridae. It is one of three genera containing the snowfinches. As the English and scientific names suggest, these are high-altitude species, found in the mountain ranges of southern Eurasia, from the Pyrenees east to the Himalayas, Tibet and western China.Père David's snowfinch
Père David's snowfinch (Pyrgilauda davidiana), also known as the small snowfinch, is a species of bird in the sparrow family.
It is found in Mongolia, southern Siberia and northern China. Its natural habitat is temperate grassland.Rufous-necked snowfinch
The rufous-necked snowfinch (Pyrgilauda ruficollis) is a species of bird in the sparrow family.
It is found in Tibet and adjacent areas of central China; it winters south to Uttarakhand, Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan. Its natural habitat is temperate grassland.Snowfinch
Snowfinches are a group of small passerine birds in the sparrow family Passeridae. At one time all eight species were placed in the genus Montifringilla but they are now divided into three genera:
Montifringilla (3 species)
In Europe, the name snowfinch is sometimes used for the white-winged snowfinch specifically
Pyrgilauda (4 species)
White-rumped snowfinch, Onychostruthus taczanowskiiSparrow
Sparrows are a family of small passerine birds. They are also known as true sparrows, or Old World sparrows, names also used for a particular genus of the family, Passer. They are distinct from both the American sparrows, in the family Passerellidae, and from a few other birds sharing their name, such as the Java sparrow of the family Estrildidae. Many species nest on buildings and the house and Eurasian tree sparrows, in particular, inhabit cities in large numbers, so sparrows are among the most familiar of all wild birds. They are primarily seed-eaters, though they also consume small insects. Some species scavenge for food around cities and, like gulls or rock doves will happily eat virtually anything in small quantities.White-rumped snowfinch
The white-rumped snowfinch (Onychostruthus taczanowskii) is a species of passerine bird in the sparrow family Passeridae. It is the only member of the genus Onychostruthus. It is sometimes placed in the genus Montifringilla.
It is found in Tibet and central-northern China. Its natural habitats are rocky areas in mountainous regions.Wildlife of Ladakh
The flora and fauna of [Ladakh] was first studied by [Ferdinand Stoliczka], an [Austria]n[Czech people|Czech][palaeontologist], who carried out a massive expedition in the region in the 1870s. The fauna of Ladakh have much in common with that of Central Asia generally, and especially those of the Tibetan Plateau. An exception to this are the birds, many of which migrate from the warmer parts of India to spend the summer in Ladakh. For such an arid area, Ladakh has a great diversity of birds — a total of 318 species have been recorded (Including 30 species not seen since 1960). Many of these birds reside or breed at high-altitude wetlands such as Tso Moriri.