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Willow Ptarmigan

Lagopus lagopus ORDER: GALLIFORMES FAMILY: PHASIANIDAE

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.

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At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
13.8–17.3 in
35–44 cm
Wingspan
23.6–25.6 in
60–65 cm
Weight
15.2–28.6 oz
430–810 g
Other Names
  • Willow Grouse (British), Red Grouse (part)
  • Le Lagopéde des saules (French)

Cool Facts

  • The subspecies of Willow Ptarmigan living in Great Britain is known as the "Red Grouse." It does not change its coloring in the winter, but remains entirely reddish brown throughout the year.
  • The Willow Ptarmigan is the only grouse in the world in which the male is regularly involved in parental care. Pairs remain together from the beginning of the breeding season until their chicks are independent.

Habitat


Scrub

Open tundra, especially in areas heavily vegetated with grasses, mosses, herbs, and shrubs, less frequently in openings in boreal coniferous forest.

Food


Plants

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
4–14 eggs
Condition at Hatching
Completely covered with dense down, eyes open. Leave nest within six to 12 hours after the last egg hatches.
Nest Placement

Ground

Behavior


Foliage Gleaner

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

Common and widespread.

Credits

  • Hannon, S. J., P. K. Eason, and K. Martin. 1998. Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus). In The Birds of North America, No. 369 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.

Range Map Help

Willow Ptarmigan Range Map
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