Willow Ptarmigan

Lagopus lagopus

Order

GALLIFORMES

Family

Turkeys and Grouse (Phasianidae)

Code 4

WIPT

Code 6

LAGLAG

ITIS

  • wgba_banner
  • ibird_banner
  • journal_banner
1 2 3

ILLUSTRATION

ask community
Copyright © 2004 - 2014 Mitch Waite Group

PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Willow Ptarmigan has an enormous range reaching up to roughly 10 million square kilometers. This bird can be found across Canada and the United States as well as areas of China, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Mongolia, Norway, Russian Federation, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. This species appears in forests and shrublands as well as varied grasslands including tundra and subarctic environments. The global population of this bird is estimated to be around 37 million individual birds. It is not believed that the population trends for this species will soon approach the minimum levels that could suggest a potential decline in population. Due to this, population trends for the Willow Ptarmigan have a present evaluation level of Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Willow Ptarmigan: Small grouse, winter adult is all white with dark-edged tail and small orange-red eye combs. Summer bird has rust-brown upperparts, head, breast, white eye-ring, orange-red eye comb, white wings, belly, leg feathers; brown tail. Unlike other ptarmigans, the male stays with the female and defends its nest-it is known to attack anything that comes to close.


Range and Habitat

Willow Ptarmigan: Resident from throughout Alaska across northern Canada to Labrador and south across much of British Columbia, into northern Ontario, and central Quebec; also found in parts of northern Asia and Europe. Winters in the southern parts of its range. Inhabits tundra and thickets with alder and willow trees.

whatbird search for your browser

SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"go-back, go-back, go-back"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The Willow Ptarmigan is called the Red Grouse in Britain.Unlike in North America, it does not turn white in winter there.
  • In the winter they settle into snowbanks to sleep. By flying into the bank, rather than walking, they do not leave footprints and can avoid predation.
  • It is the state bird of Alaska. This bird’s feet are heavy with feathers and serve as a sort of snowshoe.
  • A group of ptarmigan have many collective nouns, including a "congregation", "covey", and "invisibleness" of ptarmigan.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Willow Ptarmigan

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Irina Rud-Volga

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

.
UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
BellyX
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
BreastX
The upper front part of a bird.
CombX
Only found in male birds and consists of a colored area over the eye. A well developed comb can also signal (sexual) health to a potential mate.

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