Rock Ptarmigan: Small grouse with black, brown, and buff mottled upperparts, white underparts with variable dark mottling, and white wings. Head shows a dark eyestripe. Red combs over the eyes can be retracted or exposed. It has feathers on legs and toes to help it walk in the snow and stay warm.
Range and Habitat
Rock Ptarmigan: Tundra species of barren rocky land. Found from western Aleutians, throughout Alaska, northern Canada, Arctic, into Greenland.
The Rock Ptarmigan is also known as Snow Chicken, and is the official bird for the territory of Nunavut, Canada.
In the mountains of Honshu, Japan, the Ptarmigan is called raichou (literally "thunder bird") and according to legend protects people and buildings from fire and thunder.
Many studies have shown that there is a strong correlation between the comb size and the level of testosterone in males.
A group of Ptarmigan have many collective nouns, including a "congregation", "covey", and "invisibleness" of ptarmigan.
The Rock Ptarmigan may also be known as the Partridge or Snow Chicken in North America. It is the official game bird for Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada, and is the official bird for Nunavut, Canada. This species breeds in arctic and subarctic Europe, Asia and North America on rocky mountain ranges and tundra. Some populations are also found in Scotland, the Pyrenees, the Alps, Bulgaria, the Urals, the Pamir Mountains, the Altay Mountains and Japan. These birds feed on birch and willow buds, seeds, leaves, flowers and berries. The young will eat insects as well. The conservation rating for this species is Least Concern.