Swiss Alps-group

Study area: Switzerland, Central Alps


Beginning of ringing and monitoring activities: 2015

Ringing and monitoring of breeding population, ringing wintering individuals. Research activities on breeding biology (Vogelwarte, Sempach) and habitat selection (Uni Bern); most fieldwork between February and August.

The Swiss Snowfinch Research Group represents collaboration between the Swiss Ornithological Institute (Vogelwarte) and the Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Conservation Biology Division (University of Bern).

Main goals of the activities:

• Long-term population monitoring to estimate demographic parameters;

• Genetic analysis;

• Establishing the fine-grained species-habitat associations and the patterns of trophic resource acquisition;

• Assessment of the potential impacts of global change on population dynamics;

• Basic research on breeding biology;

• To inform the general public about the risks faced by alpine birds due to climate change;


Ringing activity results:

Just started, no results yet.

Monitoring of reproductive biology:

Nestboxes: 30 at the Furkapass (few years ago), 6 at the Grimselpass, 10 at Col du Grand Saint-Bernard and 10 at Zermatt sky resort (autum of 2015), plan to increase number of nestboxes and study locations over the next years

Colour ring project:

start 2016: PVC alphanumeric (3 digits) colour rings (red = wintering Swiss Alps; grey = breeding Swiss Alps);

European coordination of colour rings:

General view of the wintering study site where Snowfinches were captured during the winter of 2015

© gallery web

© author Jaime Resano Mayor







Open wing from a Snowfinch captured during the winter in the Swiss Alps

© gallery web

© author Jaime Resano Mayor


Coordinator of the Group in the Switzerland, Central Alps:

Fränzi Korner-Nievergelt - Swiss Ornithological Institute, 6204 Sempach

Jaime Resano-Mayor - University of Bern, Switzerland

Researchers involved Group (Switzerland Central Alps)

• Alexander Schneider - Swiss Ornithological Institute, 6204 Sempach

• Claire Pernollet - Swiss Ornithological Institute, 6204 Sempach

• Heinz Bachmann - Swiss Ornithological Institute, 6204 Sempach

Lukas Jenni - Swiss Ornithological Institute, 6204 Sempach

Raphaël Arlettaz - Division Conservation Biology, University of Bern, Switzerland





•  Claire A. Pernollet, Fränzi Korner-Nievergelt 2017, A possible mechanism of how globalwarming may affect Snowfinch population dynamics (poster)

• Fränzi Korner-Nievergelt, Claire Pernollet, Alexander Schneider, Heinz Bachmann, Lukas Jenni - Bericht über die erste Feldsaison (2016) des Schneesperlingsprojekts: Report of first field season (2016) of the Snowfinch project.

• Jaime Resano-Mayor, Angel Fernandez-Martın, Sergio Hernandez-Gomez, Ignasi Toranzo, Antonio Espana, Juan Antonio Gil, Miguel de Gabriel, Isabel Roa-Alvarez, Eliseo Strinella, Keith A. Hobson, Gerald Heckel, Raphael Arlettaz 2016. Integrating genetic and stable isotope analyses to infer the population structure of the White-winged Snowfinch Montifringilla nivalis in Western Europe, 2016 J Ornithol DOI 10.1007/s10336-016-1413-8


Breeding Snowfinch with Tipulidae larva in the bill entering a nestbox to feed the chicks in the Swiss Alps

© gallery web

© author Fränzi Korner

Feeding and breeding grounds (nestboxes in houses) of Snowfinches in the Swiss Alps

gallery home page sito

© author Fränzi Korner

Feeding grounds of Snowfinches during the breeding season in the Swiss Alps 

© gallery web

© author Jaime Resano Mayor