Willow Ptarmigan Identification

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The Four Keys to ID

  • Size & Shape

    A plump, chickenlike bird with a short neck, small head and bill, and large, feathered feet.

    Relative Size

    Larger than a quail, smaller than a teal; about the size of a small gull, but more rotund.

    Relative Sizecrow sizedcrow-sized
    Measurements
    • Both Sexes
      • Length: 13.8-17.1 in (35-43.5 cm)
      • Weight: 19.0-23.6 oz (538.1-668.6 g)
      • Wingspan: 23.6-24.4 in (60-62 cm)

Regional Differences

Nineteen named subspecies worldwide, six in North America, but more study is needed to determine whether differences between populations support these distinctions.