Willow Ptarmigan: Small grouse, rust-brown upperparts, head, breast, white eye-ring, orange-red eye comb, white wings, belly, leg feathers; brown tail. Unlike other ptarmigans, the male stays with the female and defends its nest-it is known to attack anything that comes to close.
Range and Habitat
Willow Ptarmigan: Ranges from Alaska to Labrador and south to central British Columbia, northern Ontario, and central Quebec; also found in parts of northern Asia and Europe. Inhabits tundra and thickets with alder and willow trees.
The Willow Ptarmigan is called the Red Grouse in Britain.Unlike in North America, it does not turn white in winter there.
In the winter they settle into snowbanks to sleep. By flying into the bank, rather than walking, they do not leave footprints and can avoid predation.
It is the state bird of Alaska.
This bird’s feet are heavy with feathers and serve as a sort of snowshoe.
A group of ptarmigan have many collective nouns, including a "congregation", "covey", and "invisibleness" of ptarmigan.
The Willow Ptarmigan has an enormous range reaching up to roughly 10 million square kilometers. This bird can be found across Canada and the United States as well as areas of China, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Mongolia, Norway, Russian Federation, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. This species appears in forests and shrublands as well as varied grasslands including tundra and subarctic environments. The global population of this bird is estimated to be around 37 million individual birds. It is not believed that the population trends for this species will soon approach the minimum levels that could suggest a potential decline in population. Due to this, population trends for the Willow Ptarmigan have a present evaluation level of Least Concern.