... White-tailed Ptarmigan (Lagopus leucura), version 1.0. Range and Habitat of the White-Tailed Ptarmigan. White-tailed Ptarmigan eggs are light cinnamon, showing dark spots toward the time of hatching. Basic Description. In his pioneering 1909 book on the subject, Concealing-Coloration in the Animal Kingdom, the American artist Abbott Thayer wrote: White-tailed Ptarmigan (Lugopus leucurus). White-tailed Ptarmigan (Vancouver) ( Lagopus leucura saxatilis) Avibase taxonomic concepts v. 01 (August 2013): White-tailed Ptarmigan (Vancouver) ( Lagopus leucura saxatilis) Avibase taxonomic concepts v. 02 (May 2014): White-tailed Ptarmigan (Vancouver) ( Lagopus leucura saxatilis) Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is publishing a not-warranted for listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) finding for the southern white-tailed ptarmigan. Get Instant ID help for 650+ North American birds. Within 6-12 hours of hatching, the female leads her clutch of 4-8 chicks to food sources where they are able to feed themselves. This suggests that the hens' food calls assist in enhancing survival rates of juvenile ptarmigans. It is a mottled grayish-brown in summer and white in winter. ACTION TIMELINE. They generally live in areas that are open to the public and can potentially be negatively affected by a number of man-made influences, especially … White-tailed Ptarmigan: Scientific (Lagopus leucura) Order: GALLIFORMES: Family (Latin) Phasianidae: Family (English) Pheasants & Allies: Other name(s) Breeding Regions: NA: Breeding Range Subregions: w, nw: Nonbreeding Range Subregions: Countries (BETA)map: Canada,United States - Alaska,United States - mainland, IOC 9.1 Subspecies Lives most of its life above timberline. They’re famous for being virtually invisible when they stand still against the windswept rocks, low shrubs, and snowbanks of their high-mountain habitat. The white-tailed ptarmigan is a small, pear-shaped grouse. 1 Description 2 Habitats 3 Attractants 4 Retrieving 5 Missions 6 Permitted Ammunition The white-tailed ptarmigan, also known as the snow quail, is the smallest bird in the grouse family. [7] Adults are 11.8 to 12.2 inches (30 to 31 cm) long, with the males being only slightly larger than the females. Males return from their wintering areas to establish territories on spruce-willow timber line breeding grounds in April. White-tailed Ptarmigan are small, tubby grouse, snow-white in winter and twig-brown in summer. The belly is entirely white, as are the quill feathers of the wings and tail. Home range is a measure of the area used by an animal for its normal activities (Burt 1943) but may also be … Range. Once the chicks' digestive tracts and ceca are more fully developed, their diets shift to one of flowers and leaves. In his pioneering 1909 book on the subject, Concealing-Coloration in the Animal Kingdom, the American artist Abbott Thayer wrote: There is perhaps no other bird which moults as gradually as the Ptarmigan, and this fact goes very far to strengthen the supposition that it has developed a peculiarly fluid and perfect system of protective coloration. I’ve seen them only in the high country of the Swan Range, Jewel Basin, Glacier National Park, and the Great Bear Wilderness. Lagopus leucura. Regular reports of the species go back as far as the mid-1970's, with a single documented record from 2005 which may represent a dispersal event from Colorado (Hoffman 2006, Faulkner 2010, Cornell Lab of Ornithology 2012). But it also occurs in the lower 48, primarily including the high Rocky Mountains of Colorado and Montana, or the Cascade Mountains in Washington. Some populations have been introduced to other states with high elevation habitats, including Utah and California. [18] One side of the nest generally provides a quick escape route. Lagopus Leucurus Peninsularis ITIS. The average weight is 11.6 to 16.9 ounces (330 to 480 g). It is a mottled grayish-brown in summer and white in winter. The white-tailed ptarmigan (Lagopus leucura), also known as the snow quail, is the smallest bird in the grouse family. Males and females look alike in winter. Broods of young white-tailed ptarmigan, under the care of the hen, stay high on the breeding grounds all summer. In: IUCN 2015. It has also been in NATURAL HISTORY. [16], The white-tailed ptarmigan is listed as being of "Least Concern" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Females arrive in early May and pairs are formed. Males and females look alike in winter. Size 1.70 x 1.15. Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies(Order: Galliformes, Family:Phasianidae). 2012. [16] The lack of overgrazing by cattle, the lack of human development in alpine zones, the difficulty in accessing its remote habitat, the low densities at which it occurs and the laws regarding the limits to hunting bags allow the white-tailed ptarmigan to thrive.[8][6]. Timing and Routes of Migration. When the temperature tops 70°F (21°C) they may cool off by bathing in snow. It is not a conservation concern and is abundant in alpine zones across North America, indicating that this region is not undergoing dramatic climatic, temperature, or precipitation shifts. It is the smallest grouse in North America (total length 30 to 31 cm, weight 295 to 440 grams), and the only species of grouse with white tail feathers. PDF | On Jan 1, 1993, C. E. Braun and others published White-tailed Ptarmigan (Lagopus leucura) | Find, read and cite all the research you need on ResearchGate The White-tailed Ptarmigan subsists mainly on willow buds during the winter months. White-tailed ptarmigan have one of the most limited distributions of any watchable wildlife species in Montana, so they are not particularly easy to find. Surprisingly, the smaller male White-taileds are dominant over male Rock Ptarmigan, chasing them from their territories. As summer progresses, male develops grayish-brown feathers on head, neck, and back; generally quite splotchy. To attract females, a male will strut and display his tail feathers. [9][11] In general this bird is silent but it sometimes makes quiet, low-pitched hoots and soft clucking noises. The White-tailed Ptarmigan ( Lagopus leucura ), also known as the Snow Quail, is the smallest bird in the grouse family. It has white wings and a short, white tail. In addition, these birds have feathers around their nostrils to warm the air prior to entry into the respiratory tract. It is a permanent resident of high altitudes on or above the tree line and is native to Alaska and the mountainous parts of Canada and the western United States. White-tailed ptarmigan are found only in western North America. This is because, although populations may be in slight decline, its range is too wide and the total number of birds too large to fit the criteria for being listed as "Vulnerable". Molecular studies have shown that Lagopus is monophyletic, with the rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta) and White-tailed ptarmigan being sister species. The rock and willow ptarmigans both live across northern North America, Europe, and Asia. [15] During the summer, the ptarmigan eats grit to assist in digesting plant material. White-tailed … Golden: Fulcrum Publishing, 2008. After hatching, the chicks soon leave the nest. The precocial young leave the nest six to twelve hours after hatching. The White-tailed Ptarmigan is a grouse of alpine (above treeline) habitats. Far above timberline in mountains of the west lives this elusive little ptarmigan, the smallest member of the grouse family in North America. [15] The nest is a shallow depression in a snow-free area, generally protected from the wind and is softened with grasses and a few feathers. The hens call their chicks to these plants, which are critical for the growth and development of the chicks. The white-tailed ptarmigan, like most ptarmigan species, is no stranger to the northern boreal region. White-tailed ptarmigan have one of the most limited distributions of any watchable wildlife species in Montana, so they are not particularly easy to find. It is a foot in length and is the smallest of the ptarmigans and the only ptarmigan with an all white tail. The plural of ptarmigan, originally a Scottish Gaelic word, is ptarmigan. Our petition asked the U.S. Its plumage is cryptic and varies at different times of the year. Plump, chickenlike bird found in tundra with a mix of rocks and mossy ground cover. Photo taken near Grizzly Meadow, Emigrant Wilderness Area, CA, July 1994. Title White-tailed Ptarmigan Range - CWHR B135 [ds922] Publication date 2017-06-2200:00:00 Presentation formats digital map FGDC geospatial presentation format vector digital data Other citation details These are the same layers as appear in the CWHR System software. This bird’s name is derived from the fact that it is the only Ptarmigan that does not have a black tail. The diet of these birds varies based on region, species, and age. [6], The white-tailed ptarmigan is the smallest of the ptarmigans and the smallest bird in the grouse family. Gaines (1988) published a California photograph of a White-tailed Ptarmigan and characterized the species’ range in the state as extending from at least Matterhorn Peak and Mt. Migratory Behavior. A bit of research into the history of this species reveals that White-tailed Ptarmigan used to be found in the Snowy Range, just outside of Laramie. It has feathers on its legs and a small bill. It may have been native here during the early Pleistocene but became locally extinct due to climate changes with greater snow-cover in spring impacting on its breeding season. It survives across northwest and western Canada and coastal Alaska, down through most of British Columbia (NatureServe 2019). White-tailed Ptarmigan. White-tailed ptarmigan in Southcentral Alaska lay eggs in late May, earlier than whitetails at the southern end of the species’ range in Colorado. ABSTRACT.-Home ranges, habitat characteristics, and fidelity of White-tailed Ptarmigan (Lagopus leucurus) to wintering sites were studied in north-central Colorado. [6] Winter food sources have a much higher cellulose content than does summer forage, so the ptarmigan relies on bacteria-aided digestion in the cecum to extract essential nutrients. BirdLife International and NatureServe (2014) Bird Species Distribution Maps of the World. Sizes: 800x530 1152x762 1600x1059 histogram. The conservation rating for this species is listed as Least Concern. We quantified home range size and documented patterns of habitat use in relation to food resources by a wintering population of White-tailed Ptarmigan in Colorado. It is the smallest grouse in North America (total length 30 to 31 cm, weight 295 to 440 grams), and the only species of grouse with white tail feathers. The reason may be that snow melts sooner from the habitat of the Alaska whitetail. Version 2015.2. They do not return to the nest. In Birds of the World (P. G. Rodewald, Editor). Cornell Lab of … [8] During the summer, the white-tailed ptarmigan is a speckled grayish brown with white underparts, tail and wings. [16] The most obvious adaptation is this bird's cryptic coloration, which enables it to blend in with its environment and avoid predation by golden eagles or other birds of prey. [9] Its habitat includes areas of boulders, krummholz, snowfields, rock slides, frost-heaved soil and upland herbage. Benedict, A. D. “Islands in the Sky: Alpine Tundras.” The Naturalist’s Guide to the Southern Rockies. It can be found in a wide range of alpine forests in Alaska and a few high elevations in the lower 48. The tail remains white throughout the year. It survives across northwest and western Canada and coastal Alaska, down through most of British Columbia (NatureServe 2019). This species is not native to the Sierra range, but was introduced in the 70's as described in the habitat study in the link below. The Cornell Lab will send you updates about birds, birding, and opportunities to help bird conservation. [1] This bird serves as an indicator species for the alpine tundra, and denotes overall ecosystem health. (30-31 cm) - Weight: 11.6-16.9 oz. They are the product of millions of years of evolution in rugged mountains, but do not compete successfully with other ptarmigan anywhere except in the rocky alpine. It occupies open country and flies a great deal more than forest grouse, but still prefers running to flying. Hoffman in Tuolumne and Mono Counties south to the Ritter Range in Madera County. [6][9] The finely barred greyish coloration on the back makes it easy to distinguish this species from the much browner willow ptarmigan and rock ptarmigan. This bird was totally fearless of people, which … [16], White-tailed ptarmigan males are usually monogamous and remain with the same mate for one breeding season. Plumage changes throughout the year. Figs. It is a permanent resident of high altitudes on or above the tree line and is native to Alaska and the mountainous parts of Canada and the western United States. Range: White-tailed ptarmigan range as far north as south-central Alaska, north-central Yukon Territory, and extreme western portions of the Northwest Territories. White-tailed Ptarmigan are small, tubby grouse, snow-white in winter and twig-brown in summer. [7], Ptarmigan chicks begin their lives eating insects. The species name leucura was for a long time misspelt leucurus, in the erroneous belief that the ending of Lagopus denotes masculine gender. [17] The young birds remain with their mother throughout the summer and autumn season.[15]. 304a. It is the smallest of the ptarmigans, and the only one that nests south of Canada. It is a stocky bird with rounded wings, square-ended tail, small black beak and short legs with feathering extending to the toes. [17] The female builds a simple scrape nest on the ground, while the male acts as a sentry to guard the area. White-tailed Ptarmigan ( Lagopus leucura altipetens) Range: NA ( range map ) info. [4], The genus name Lagopus is derived from Ancient Greek lagos (λαγως), meaning "hare", + pous (πους), "foot", in reference to the bird's feathered legs. By winter all the summer brown feathers are lost and the bird is completely white. Alternatively, it may have been unable to colonize the Sierra Nevada because of the barriers provided by the Columbia River and the Great Basin, and the low altitudes of the intervening South Cascades. [15] Hens choose foraging patches where plant species containing proteins are abundant. It can be found in a wide range of alpine forests in Alaska and a few high elevations in the lower 48. The white-tailed ptarmigan has feathers located on its feet to serve as protection from the extreme cold often experienced in the alpine tundra environment. Broods of young white-tailed ptarmigan, under the care of the hen, stay high on the breeding grounds all summer. In the fall, the plumage has turned a much more reddish-brown color and white feathers begin to grow through. I’ve seen them only in the high country of the Swan Range, Jewel Basin, Glacier National Park, and the Great Bear Wilderness. [10] Both sexes maintain white tail and wing feathers all the year and males can be identified by their reddish eyecombs (fleshy growths above the eye), also present year-long. They’re famous for being virtually invisible when they stand still against the windswept rocks, low shrubs, and snowbanks of their high-mountain habitat. Audio. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. White-tailed ptarmigan in Southcentral Alaska lay eggs in late May, earlier than whitetails at the southern end of the species’ range in Colorado. The nest is a simple depression in the ground in which up to eight eggs are laid. The White-tailed Ptarmigan subsists mainly on willow buds during the winter months. The white-tailed ptarmigan is well-camouflaged when on the ground. Movements and Migration. The rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta) is a medium-sized gamebird in the grouse family.It is known simply as the ptarmigan in the UK and in Canada, where it is the official bird for the territory of Nunavut, and the official game bird for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Willow ptarmigans have a wider range than any other species, and spread much farther south. [14], This herbivorous bird's diet varies seasonally. The White-tailed Ptarmigan is largely a permanent resident of the open country it inhabits. Their feathered feet and dense plumage enable them to walk on top of snow and even roost inside snowbanks. [6][15] Once fall and winter arrive in the region, the ptarmigan feeds on pine needles, seeds, willow and alder buds and twigs. [5] The species name leucura is derived from the Latinized version of the Greek leukos, meaning "white" and oura, meaning "tail", in reference to the bird's permanently white tail. They nest abundantantly near the summits of the ranges in Colorado, making their nests among the rocks, and generally lining them with a few grasses. It is a permanent resident of high altitudes on or above the tree line and is native to Alaska and the mountainous parts of Canada and the western United States. 574-626. (330-480 g) Physical Description. The white-tailed ptarmigan has a diet of buds, leaves, flowers and seeds. [10], The white-tailed ptarmigan was introduced into the Sierra Nevada of California, Wallowa Mountains in Oregon, and Uinta Mountains of Utah in the 1970s. Habitat in Breeding Range. The white-tailed ptarmigan, like most ptarmigan species, is no stranger to the northern boreal region. Summer female is pale golden with intricate black and white markings. White-tailed Ptarmigan - Lagopus leucura. White-tailed Ptarmigan are so well adapted to the cold that warm weather can stress them out. This pattern ... is achieved by light-brown marginal bands, with a few small internal spots, on the dark feathers of the upper parts; the predominance of light and dark being gradually reversed as the lower breast is approached. The five subspecies of whitetails range from the peaks of the Rocky Mountains in northern New Mexico and Colorado (where they live at 12,000 – 14,000 feet), Mount Rainer and Vancouver Island in the coastal mountains, to Southcentral Alaska and central Yukon. [8] They are at first covered with down but become fully fledged in seven to ten days. During June, they lay from six to twelve eggs having a creamy background, speckled and blotched with chestnut brown. The longevity record for a White-tailed Ptarmigan is 15 years. Habitat in Nonbreeding Range. Range of the White-Tailed Ptarmigan in Alaska. Kenai White-Tailed Ptarmigan. Flickr. It has also been introduced into the Sierra Nevada in California, the Wallowa Mountains in Oregon and the Uinta Mountains in Utah. It has white wings and a short, white tail. Nitrogen-rich snow buttercup leaves are favored in the spring season, while willow catkins, mountain avens flowers, and chickweed blooms, other flowers and leaves, lichens and berries form the majority of the ptarmigan's diet in the summer. In the summer it is speckled in gray, brown and white whereas in winter it is wholly white. MEDIA Press releases Media highlights Search our newsroom for the white-tailed ptarmigan. The population seems to be stable and the IUCN lists this species as being of "Least Concern". A further molt in the spring precedes the breeding season and the bird returns to its summer plumage. The white-tailed ptarmigan was given the scientific name Tetrao (Lagopus) leucurus by the Arctic explorer John Richardson in 1831. It has feathers on its legs and it has a small bill. The White-tailed Ptarmigan leads a sedentary lifestyle in winter, conserving precious energy by avoiding flight and often roosting in snowbanks. However, as the Ancient Greek term λαγωπους is of feminine gender, and the species name has to agree with that, the feminine leucura is correct. The white-tailed ptarmigan (pronounced TAR-mﬞi-gan) is one of the few animals that takes on this unique challenge and, in fact, has the distinction of being the only bird species in Colorado that lives on or near the alpine tundra year-round. At first they eat insects but later move on to an adult diet, their mother using vocalisations to help them find suitable plant food. The White-tailed Ptarmigan is the only bird to permanently reside in the alpine zone. While the other ptarmigan are strictly northern, this one follows the cordillera of the high Rockies as far south as New Mexico. 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