Rock Ptarmigan

Lagopus muta

Order

GALLIFORMES

Family

Partridges, Grouse, Turkeys, Old World Quail (Phasianidae)

Code 4

ROPT

Code 6

LAGMUT

ITIS

ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Rock Ptarmigan may also be known as the Partridge or Snow Chicken in North America. It is the official game bird for Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada, and is the official bird for Nunavut, Canada. This species breeds in arctic and subarctic Europe, Asia and North America on rocky mountain ranges and tundra. Some populations are also found in Scotland, the Pyrenees, the Alps, Bulgaria, the Urals, the Pamir Mountains, the Altay Mountains and Japan. These birds feed on birch and willow buds, seeds, leaves, flowers and berries. The young will eat insects as well. The conservation rating for this species is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Rock Ptarmigan: Small grouse with black, brown, and buff mottled upperparts, white underparts with variable dark mottling, and white wings. Head shows a dark eyestripe. Red combs over the eyes can be retracted or exposed. It has feathers on legs and toes to help it walk in the snow and stay warm.

 

Range and Habitat

Rock Ptarmigan: Found in alpine and arctic tundra regions of Canada, Scandinavia, Russia, Finland, Greenland, and Alaska. Winter habitat is usually brushy slopes near the timberline. Males tend to remain in alpine-like habitats, while females seek more cover. Spring and summer habitat is more open, with males choosing territory sparsely covered in stunted brush and with many rocky outlooks.

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Rock Ptarmigan SONGS AND CALLS

Rock Ptarmigan S1

Calls from a female and chicks.

Rock Ptarmigan P1

Rattle call is a gutteral "krrrrrrrr".

Similar Sounding


Voice Text

"ah AAH ah AAAAH a a a a "

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The Rock Ptarmigan is also known as Snow Chicken, and is the official bird for the territory of Nunavut, Canada.
  • In the mountains of Honshu, Japan, the Ptarmigan is called raichou (literally "thunder bird") and according to legend protects people and buildings from fire and thunder.
  • Many studies have shown that there is a strong correlation between the comb size and the level of testosterone in males.
  • A group of Ptarmigan have many collective nouns, including a "congregation", "covey", and "invisibleness" of ptarmigan.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP NORTH AMERICA

About this North America Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across North America.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Ashli Maruster

Artist

Irina Rud-Volga

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
ChestX
Also called the breast area, it is the frontal area on the body containing the breastplate and major flight muscles.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X