- 11.8–12.2 in
- 11.6–16.9 oz
- Lagopède à queue blanche (French)
- The White-tailed Ptarmigan leads a very sedentary lifestyle in winter, conserving precious energy by avoiding flight and often roosting in snow banks.
- In winter, the White-tailed Ptarmigan defecates an average of 49 times overnight.
- Warm weather may stress the White-tailed Ptarmigan. It can be seen bathing in snow when the temperature is higher than 21° C (70° F).
Alpine areas at or above tree line. Rocky areas, krummholz, snowfields, meadows.
Buds, stems, and seeds; in summer, also insects, leaves, fruits, and flowers.
- Clutch Size
- 2–8 eggs
- Egg Description
- Light cinnamon, showing dark spots toward the time of hatching.
- Condition at Hatching
- Completely covered with dense down, eyes open. Leave nest within six to 12 hours after the last egg hatches.
A scrape on the ground, with some vegetation pulled by the female around her body to form a rim.
Male bows and struts before female with combs flared and tail fanned out. Walks on ground, nipping at vegetation. Consumes grit to aid in processing of plant matter.
Some disturbances, including overgrazing by livestock and development of ski areas, may affect distribution locally. Management of hunting bag limits, seasonal closure and rerouting of roads, and limitations on livestock grazing help to stabilize White-tailed Ptarmigan populations.
- Braun, C. E., K. Martin, and L. A. Robb. 1993. White-tailed Ptarmigan (Lagopus leucurus). In The Birds of North America, No. 68 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, and The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.