14 Ocak 2013 Pazartesi

Alaska State Bird

Alaska State Bird

Willow Ptarmigan (common name) 
Lagopus lagopus 
(scientific name)


The Alaska willow–ptarmigan is a small rust-brown grouse that thrives in Alaska's cold forests and tundra. The bird was designated the official state bird in 1955 and is a common sight throughout much of the state. The ptarmigan is a mottled brown color with white wings, belly, and leg feathers. The male has small wattles above the eyes. The bird feeds mainly on the leaves and shoots of plants, but also eats berries, seeds, and, when young, insects. The female willow ptarmigan will try to find a place sheltered by rocks or logs for her nest. Nests are hollowed-out areas on the ground lined with feathers and grass and containing seven to ten eggs. The male guards the area from the bird's many predators (eagles, humans, foxes) while the female incubates the eggs.


Alaska ptarmigan, Alexander ptarmigan, Arctic grouse, red grouse (Scotland), Scottish grouse, willow grouse, willow partridge
 SizeLength to end of tail: 17 in (43.2 cm)
Wing from flexure: 7.5-8.5 in (18.2-21.6 cm)
Length of tail: 4.3-5.3 in(10.8-13.5 cm)
Length to end of tail: (40.7 cm)
Wing from flexure: 6.6-8.4 in (16.8-21.4 cm)
Length of tail: 3.7-5.5 in (9.4-13.9 cm)
 Weight15.3-28.5 ounces (430-810 g)15.3-28.5 ounces (430-810 g)
Ground forager, although occasionally forages in trees.
Heavily vegetated open tundra with grasses, shrubs, and thickets of alder, birch, and willow trees.

Range: From Alaska and Labrador in the north and from British Columbia to Quebec in the south
Migration: Migrates south in autumn through Anaktuvuk Pass in the Brooks Range of Alaska and returns in late winter to its principal nesting grounds on the arctic slope.
Conservation Status: Least Concern (LC)
Nesting Period: Early April-May
Size of Clutch: 4-14 eggs
Incubation Period: 3 weeks
Egg Description: Brownish cream colored and heavily speckled with black.
Egg Size: 1.75x1.25 in (44.5x31.7 mm)
Rock ptarmigan, white-tailed ptarmigan, white grouse, white-shafted ptarmigan
  • The Alaska Willow Ptarmigan's feet are feathered and serve as a kind of insulated snowshoe for the bird. It forages on the ground and will only fly to escape predators and to migrate. 
  • The male's call is a loud croaking. 
  • In Finland, the ptarmigan is considered "the bird of God," representing purity and women. Traditionally, parents would hang the legs and wings of the bird over a baby girl's cradle to ensure sure she grew up to be virtuous. Finns also considered the ptarmigan to be a spirit messenger.

Click to enlarge an image
State Bird
Alaska Willow Ptarmigan
State Bird
Female Alaska Willow Ptarmigan
State Bird
Juvenile Alaska Willow Ptarmigan
State Bird
Alaska Willow Ptarmigan with White Winter Feathers

Species:L. lagopus
Author: World Trade Press

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