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Willow Ptarmigan

From Opus

Revision as of 14:52, 7 November 2011 by Deliatodd-18346 (Talk | contribs)
Subspecies scoticusPhoto by IanFLangdon Common, Teesdale, England.subspecies scoticus, Red Grouse
Subspecies scoticus
Photo by IanF
Langdon Common, Teesdale, England.
subspecies scoticus, Red Grouse

Alternative name: Willow Grouse

Lagopus lagopus

Includes: Red Grouse



Summer male - chestnut brown head and neck, white belly splashed with brown, black tail feathers and red eyebrows.
Winter male - entirely white, black eyes, bill and outer tail and red eyebrow. The feet of the bird are heavily feathered and act much like snow shoes.

Photo by steenlDenali National Park - Alaska.
Photo by steenl
Denali National Park - Alaska.

Summer female - mottled brown (less reddish than the male) with some white on the belly.
Winter female - identical to the winter male.

Scoticus does not have a white winter plumage.


North America, British Isles, Northern Europe and Northern Asia.



  • L. l. scotica: British Isles
  • L. l. variegata: Coastal Norway (islands off Trondheim Fjord)
  • L. l. lagopus: Scandinavia and northern Russia
  • L. l. rossica: Baltic countries to central Russia
  • L. l. birulai: New Siberian Islands
  • L. l. koreni: Siberia to Kamchatka Peninsula
  • 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: Eastern Aleutian Islands and Kodiak Islands
  • L. l. alexandrae: Alaskan Peninsula to north-western British Columbia
  • L. l. alascensis: Alaska
  • L. l. leucoptera: Arctic islands of northern Canada and adjacent mainland to southern Baffin Island
  • L. l. alba: Tundra of northern Yukon and central British Columbia to Gulf of St. Lawrence
  • L. l. ungavus: Northern Quebec and northern Labrador
  • L. l. alleni: Newfoundland

Subspecies scoticus by some considered full species, Red Grouse, ranging in U.K. and Ireland.

Photo by iainhawkPeak District UK, June 2006
Photo by iainhawk
Peak District UK, June 2006


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 and birch; 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 Bears.


  1. Clements, JF. 2008. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2008. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.

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