Montifringilla Brehm, Isis, 1828, p. 1277.
Type, Montifringilla nivalis= Fringilla nivalis Linn.
The name Montifringilla has been discarded by some ornithologists on the grounds that it is a nomen nudum but Brehm gives the names of two birds under this genus. These birds he calls Montifringilla nivalis Br. and Montfringilla glacialis Br. and it is not until 1831 (Handb. Naturg. Yog. Deutschl. p. 270) that he explains that both are referable to Fringilla nivalis of Linne. At the same time there can be no doubt as to what bird Brehm referred to under the first given name of M. nivalis Br. and it seems therefore unnecessary to substitute for it the name Chionospina of Kaup (Skizz. Enterw. Natur. Syst., p. 139, 1829).
The genus Montifringilla is closely allied to Petronia and Passer; like those genera it has an Autumn moult and the young are without much down at first; the wings are comparatively longer than in Petronia and the bill longer and more slender. The tail is quite square at the end, the claws are somewhat lengthened and the sexes are practically alike.
The birds of this genus are characterized by a large amount of white on both wings and tail.
Key to Species.
A. Lores ashy or brown, not forming a black line through the eye…………M. nivalis, p. 186.
B. Lores black, forming a mask in front of the eye.
a. Throat white. ………… [p. 188.
a1 No rufous on sides of neck…………M. taczanowskii,
b1 Sides of neck rufous…………M. ruficollis, p. 189.
b. Throat black…………M. blanfordi, p. 190.