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Rock Ptarmigan - BirdForum Opus

Revision as of 12:08, 10 May 2023 by KeithDickinson-10828 (talk | contribs) (→‎External Links: removed BFTV link)
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Subspecies islandorum
Male, winter plumage
Photo by Gaukur
Husavik, North-eastern Iceland, April 2005
Lagopus muta


33–40 cm (13-15¾ in)

  • Feathered feet, bare red skin over the eye

Breeding male

  • Greyish upperparts
  • White wings and underparts

Winter male

  • Almost completely white
  • Black tail

Female is browner than the male


Female with chick, summer plumage
Photo by Momo
Gemmipass, VS, Switzerland, July 2010

Arctic and subarctic Eurasia and North America including Greenland.



This is a polytypic species consisting of consisting of about 29 subspecies[1]:

  • L. m. hyperborea: Svalbard, Franz Josef Land and Bear Island
  • L. m. muta: Norway, northern Sweden, northern Finland and Kola Peninsula
  • L. m. millaisi: Scotland
  • L. m. pyrenaica: Pyrénées
  • L. m. helvetica: Alps (Savoie to central Austria)
  • L. m. komensis: Northern Ural Mountains
  • L. m. pleskei: Northern Siberia (Taymyr Peninsula to Chukotsk Peninsula)
  • L. m. macrorhyncha: Tarbagatay Mountains (Russia)
  • L. m. ssp.: Undescribed race from Pamir Alaï Mountains (Tajikistan)
  • L. m. nadezdae: Mountains of southern Siberia and Mongolia
  • L. m. transbaicalica: South-eastern Siberia (Lake Baikal to Sea of Okhotsk)
  • L. m. kraschennikovi: Kamchatka Peninsula
  • L. m. ridgwayi: Komandorskiye Islands
Winter male, subspecies millaisi
Photo by crail_birder
Scotland, January 2016
  • L. m. kurilensis: Kuril Islands
  • L. m. japonica: Honshu Island (Japan)
  • L. m. evermanni: Attu Island (Aleutian Islands)
  • L. m. townsendi: Aleutian Islands (Kiska and Little Kiska)
  • L. m. gabrielsoni: Aleutian Islands (Amchitka, Little Sitkin and Rats)
  • L. m. sanfordi: Aleutian Islands (Tanaga and Kanaga)
  • L. m. chamberlaini: Adak Island (Aleutian Islands)
  • L. m. atkhensis: Atka Island (Aleutian Islands)
  • L. m. yunaskensis: Yunaska Island (Aleutian Islands)
  • L. m. nelsoni: Aleutian Islands (Unimak, Unalaska and Amaknak)
  • L. m. dixoni: Coasts and mountains of Glacier Bay to north-western British Columbia
  • L. m. kelloggae: Alaska and northern Yukon
  • L. m. rupestris: Tundra of northern North America
  • L. m. saturata: North-western Greenland
  • L. m. macruros: Eastern Greenland
  • L. m. reinhardi: South-western Greenland
  • L. m. welchi: Newfoundland
  • L. m. islandorum: Iceland


Subspecies hyperborea
Photo by pva
Svalbard, Norway, June 2016

Sparsely vegetated rocky tundra and mountainous slopes. In very severe weather, they may move down to the edges of forests.



Their diet consists of plant shoots, leaves and buds. Also berries and insects.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved January 2016)
  3. RSPB
  4. Wikipedia

Recommended Citation

External Links

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