Adult male (Willow) © Andy Bankert eBird S69380564 Macaulay Library ML 237083331
Nonbreeding adult (Willow) © Nick Saunders
Adult (Willow) © France Desbiens
Female (Willow) © Alex Lamoreaux
Male (Red Grouse) © Yevhen Nosulko
+ 5
Male (Red Grouse) © Anne Carrington-Cotton
Breeding male (Willow) © Zak Pohlen
Female (Willow) © Blair Dudeck
Nonbreeding adult (Willow) © Réjean Deschênes

Willow Ptarmigan Lagopus lagopus

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Plump, chickenlike bird of far northern climes; an adaptable species, residing in open tundra, forest clearings and edges, bogs, moorlands, and willow stands, sometimes even straying into farmland. Plumage changes dramatically throughout the year. In winter, both sexes are pure white with black outer tail feathers. As summer progresses, male develops rich rufous head and neck and brownish back; in winter, lacks black eyeline shown by Rock Ptarmigan. Summer female is paler golden-brown with intricate black and white markings. Female nearly identical to Rock Ptarmigan; look for slightly thicker bill. In western North America, compare with female White-tailed Ptarmigan, which lacks black outer tail feathers, has a colder summer plumage, and favors different habitats. Vocalizations include a comical nasal chuckle and various clucking notes. Subspecies on Great Britain and Ireland is known as “Red Grouse.”