High in the Andes among frozen glaciers, where virtually nothing survives, a small and plump, blue-gray feathered bird lays eggs and raises their young. It is the only bird, other than emperor penguins, known to nest on ice—the most ill-suited of environments for raising young ones.
The species known as the white-winged diuca-finch (Diuca speculifera) inhabits the high mountain meadows in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Peru. The diuca finch belongs to the large Emberizidae family, members of which are known to breed on the Arctic tundra, although only the diuca finch is known to build nests directly on the brutally cold ice.
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