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Alternative name: Willow Grouse
36â€“43 cm (14Â¼-17 in)
L. l. scotica does not have a white winter plumage; L. l. variegata (possibly of hybrid origin between resident L. l. lagopus and introduced L. l. scoticus) has only limited winter white.
 Similar species
Rock Ptarmigan is very similar in its white winter plumage, distinguishable only by its smaller bill, and in males, black lores; in summer plumage it is much greyer, lacking rufous tones. White-tailed Ptarmigan lacks the black outer tail feathers, having a pure white tail in all plumages.
Arctic and subarctic regions of North America, Europe and Asia, south to around 47Â°N in Newfoundland and eastern Siberia (Sakhalin), and to 51Â°N in western Canada, Britain, and the mountains of north-central Asia.
There are 19 subspecies:
The subspecies L. l. scoticus is considered a full species, Red Grouse, by a few authors. Some also treat Irish birds as a separate subspecies L. l. hibernica, but this is not widely followed.
Tundra, thickets with alder and willow trees, open forests and shrub meadows high in the mountains where the temperature is colder.
The diet includes leaves and shoots of plants, especially willow Salix, heather Calluna, and birch Betula; also berries, seeds and insects.
The nest is a hollowed out area on the ground lined with feathers and grass, sheltered by rocks or logs. The female incubates the 7-10 eggs for about 21 days while the male guards the area. The only grouse with male parental care; males have been known to attack Grizzly Bear.
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