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Help develop a Bird ID tool!

Willow Ptarmigan


IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A typical bird of the arctic tundra, the Willow Ptarmigan is the largest and most numerous of the three ptarmigan species.

Big Day 2014
Bird Festivals


Typical Voice

Adult Description

Medium to large chicken-like bird. Thick bodied. Tail moderately short, rounded, and black. Completely white in winter. Barred rusty brown in summer. Wings white.

Immature Description

Similar to adult.

Range Map Help

Willow Ptarmigan Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

Field MarksHelp

  • Male breeding

    Willow Ptarmigan

    Male breeding
    • © Tim Gallagher / CLO
  • Adults nonbreeding

    Willow Ptarmigan

    Adults nonbreeding
    • © Dan Stosits / CLO
  • Female breeding

    Willow Ptarmigan

    Female breeding
    • © Lynn Grace / CLO
  • Female breeding

    Willow Ptarmigan

    Female breeding
    • © 2004 Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Churchill, Manitoba, Canada

Similar Species

  • Rock Ptarmigan has smaller bill, is grayer, lacks reddish tones, and some have black eyestripe in winter plumage.
  • White-tailed Ptarmigan is smaller and has all-white tail (difficult to see).