Rock Ptarmigan

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image: rockptarmigan.jpg

Common Name: Rock Ptarmigan
Scientific Name: Lagopus muta

Size: 13 to 16 inches (32-40 cm)

Habitat: North America; Mostly Northern Canada; some instances in Washington; Found in the open tundra, barren and rocky slopes in Arctic and alpine areas; in winter, some movement to thickets and forest edge.

Status: Least Concern. Global Population: 8,000,000 mature individuals. Common and widespread.

Diet: Seeds, flowers, and insects.

Breeding: Lays 3-13 eggs. Chicks, covered with dense down feathers, leave the nest within 24 hours.

Cool Facts: A true bird of the tundra, the Rock Ptarmigan changes it’s coloring between seasons to blend in with its surroundings. It is pure white in the snow-covered winter, but mottled dark and white when the snows melt. The male Rock Ptarmigan takes longer than the female to change from its white winter plumage into the brown summer garb. During courtship the male is a conspicuous white patch on the brown tundra, visible for kilometers away. The female sitting on the eggs, however, is so well camouflaged that she is difficult to find from less than 2 meters (6 feet) away. The word ptarmigan comes from the Scottish Gaelic tàrmachan, which may be related to torm "murmur". The silent initial p was added in the 17th century through the influence of Greek, especially pteron, Greek for "wing".

Found in Songbird ReMix Gamebirds

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