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Willow Ptarmigan

From Opus

L. l. lagopus, male in moult from winter to summer plumagePhoto © by steinnTroms, Norway, May 2007
L. l. lagopus, male in moult from winter to summer plumage
Photo © by steinn
Troms, Norway, May 2007

Alternative name: Willow Grouse

Lagopus lagopus


Includes: Red Grouse

Contents

[edit] Identification

L. l. lagopus, summer femalePhoto © by KudryavtsevYamal Peninsula, Russia, July 2006
L. l. lagopus, summer female
Photo © by Kudryavtsev
Yamal Peninsula, Russia, July 2006

36–43 cm (14¼-17 in)
Summer male - red-brown head and neck, white belly splashed with brown, black tail feathers and red wattle over eye.
Winter male - entirely white, except for black eyes, bill, and outer tail feathers, and red wattle over eye. The feet are heavily feathered and act much like snow shoes.
Summer female - mottled brown (less reddish than the male) with some white on the belly.
Winter female - identical to the winter male, except red wattle over eye smaller.

[edit] Variations

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.

[edit] 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.

[edit] Distribution

L. l. scotica, malePhoto © by IanFLangdon Common, Teesdale, England, April 2005
L. l. scotica, male
Photo © by IanF
Langdon Common, Teesdale, England, April 2005

Arctic and subarctic regions of North America, Europe and Asia, south to around 47°N in Newfoundland and eastern Siberia (Sakhalin), and to 51°N in western Canada, Britain, and the mountains of north-central Asia.

[edit] Taxonomy

[edit] Subspecies

L. l. alascensis, femalePhoto © by steenlDenali National Park, Alaska, October 2005
L. l. alascensis, female
Photo © by steenl
Denali National Park, Alaska, October 2005
Juvenile, Subspecies scotica, Red GrousePhoto © by markrannerHighland Scotland, August 2018
Juvenile, Subspecies scotica, Red Grouse
Photo © by markranner
Highland Scotland, August 2018
L. l. scotica, male in flightPhoto © by iainhawkPeak District, UK, June 2006
L. l. scotica, male in flight
Photo © by iainhawk
Peak District, UK, June 2006

There are 19 subspecies[1]:

  • L. l. scotica: Red Grouse
  • L. l. variegata
  • Coastal Norway (islands off Trondheim Fjord); validity doubtful
  • L. l. lagopus
  • L. l. rossica
  • L. l. birulai
  • New Siberian Islands
  • L. l. koreni
  • L. l. kamtschatkensis
  • Kamchatka Peninsula and Kuril Islands
  • L. l. maior
  • Steppes of south-western Siberia and northern Kazakstan
  • L. l. brevirostris
  • Altai Mountains and Sayan Mountains
  • L. l. kozlowae
  • Western Mongolia (Tanmu-Ola, Khangai and Kentei Mountains)
  • L. l. sserebrowsky
  • Eastern Siberia (Lake Baikal to Sea of Okhotsk and Sikhote Alin Mountains)
  • L. l. okadai
  • Sakhalin Island
  • L. l. muriei
  • L. l. alexandrae
  • L. l. alascensis
  • L. l. leucoptera
  • Arctic islands of northern Canada and adjacent mainland to southern Baffin Island
  • L. l. alba
  • L. l. ungavus
  • L. l. alleni

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.

[edit] Habitat

Male transitioning color from winter to summer, subspecies alascensisPhoto © by Gerald FriesenNome Alaska, 4 June 2019
Male transitioning color from winter to summer, subspecies alascensis
Photo © by Gerald Friesen
Nome Alaska, 4 June 2019

Tundra, thickets with alder and willow trees, open forests and shrub meadows high in the mountains where the temperature is colder.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Diet

The diet includes leaves and shoots of plants, especially willow Salix, heather Calluna, and birch Betula; also berries, seeds and insects.

[edit] Breeding

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.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

[edit] External Links



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