A mid-sized, chicken-like bird of northern latitudes. Alternate Adult male is heavily mottled blackish-brown above with red comb over eye, tiny black bill, white underparts with brown spots on flanks, white wings, and short feathered legs. Alternate Adult female is brown overall, heavily barred with black on underparts; note white wings in flight, and small bill. During courtship, males are mostly white with limited brown feathers on head, neck, and underparts. Basic Adults are entirely white, except black tail; males have contrasting black eye stripe. Juveniles are entirely brown, and, unlike adults, have brown wings. In all plumages, note small bill, range, and habitat. White-tailed and Willow Ptarmigan can be extremely similar.
Length: 36 (cm) Wingspan: 58 (cm)
Hissing, snoring notes during spring display; also a variety of clucking sounds.
Barren, rocky tundra areas.
Walks on ground. Often quite unwary. Nest is on ground, on rocky substrates, lined with feathers and fine grasses. Popular game bird in some areas.
Forages mostly on ground; eats a variety of buds, catkins, leaves, seeds, and insects.
Expanded Life History
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Mt Healy Overlook, Denali National Park Alaskaby Doug Herr on June 29, 2014 at 10:00 pm
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