It lives among willows and on open tundra and muskeg. Males have four varying seasonal plumages, and females have three. Unlike other ptarmigans, the male stays with the female and defends its nest-it is known to attack anything that comes to close. The willow ptarmigan is a medium to large (15–17 inches) Arctic grouse. Willow Ptarmigan The Willow Ptarmigan, also known as the Willow Grouse, is a sedentary Grouse species that occupies sub-alpine and subarctic habitats. The only big areas without willow ptarmigan are in the broad, forested valleys of the Interior (even there you can sometimes find willow ptarmigan in winter), the thick woods of Southeast Alaska, and the Aleutian Islands west of Unimak Island. Willow Ptarmigan: Small grouse, winter adult is all white with dark-edged tail and small orange-red eye combs. It occurs in isolated pairs at the beginning of the nesting season, but gathers in flocks in winter. Willows produce a modest amount of nectar from which bees can make honey, and are especially valued as a source of early pollen for bees.. It has a very large distribution range that covers northern Eurasia, the tundra of Scandinavia, Siberia, Alaska and northern Canada. In summer their plumage is mainly reddish brown (male) or brownish (female) with white wings. The willow ptarmigan can be distinguished from the closely related rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta) by its larger size and thicker bill and by the fact that it is not generally found above the tree line while the rock ptarmigan prefers more elevated, barren habitat. Their white wings distinguish them from all other grouse except the Ptarmigan. Willow ptarmigan have the widest range in Alaska of any upland game bird, although rock ptarmigan are a close second. Summer bird has rust-brown upperparts, head, breast, white eye-ring, orange-red eye comb, white wings, belly, leg feathers; brown tail. References ↑ "Willow Ptarmigan Identification, All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology" (in en). Feathers are brown in summer, changing to white in winter. Willow grouse are medium-sized grouse. Molting its body feathers twice a year, it goes from mottled brown or gray in summer to white in winter, so that it's camouflaged at all seasons. The willow ptarmigan is common in much of Alaska. Some of humans’ earliest manufactured items may have been made from willow.. A fishing net made from willow dates back to 8300 BC.. Aptly named, this common northern grouse is closely associated with thickets of dwarf willow on the tundra at all seasons. The plumage is brown in summer, but changes to white in winter so the bird can hide on the snow in the winter and among the vegetation in the summer. U.S. State Bird of Alaska - Willow Ptarmigan The Willow Ptarmigan is a small grouse of the far North that lives among willows and on open tundra and muskeg.
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