Willow Ptarmigan

(Lagopus lagopus alascensis Swarth) embraced on February 4, 1955.

The Ptarmigan, (Lagopus lagopus,) a close loved ones of forest and prairie grouse was embraced as the main state bird that Alaska ~ above February 4, 1955, four years before Alaska was admitted to the Union.

Ptarmigan are tiny chicken-like birds which live year round in the arctic lands, and also are discovered most frequently on tundra hiding in rocks or bushes.

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Alaska State Bird: pasture Ptarmigan


Ptarmigan, close family members of forest and also prairie grouse, live in alpine and also arctic tundra transparent the north hemisphere. There are three type of ptarmigan, and all are uncovered in Alaska.

1.) pasture Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus) room found nearly everywhere in Alaska"s high, treeless country. They occupy a broad range throughout Canada, Scandinavia, Finland and Russia.

2.) The famous Red Grouse of Scotland is a gyeongju of the pasture Ptarmigan. Absent Ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus) also live in Canada, Scandinavia, Scotland, and also northern Eurasia. They variety through most of Greenland and also Iceland and also have scattered southerly outposts in Japan, Switzerland, and Spain.

3.) In Alaska, Rock Ptarmigan live in all significant treeless locations except the flat tundras of the western and also northern coasts. White-tailed Ptarmigan (Lagopus leucurus) are strictly phibìc American. They occupy rough uplands native the Alaska selection and main Yukon southward come Washington and northern new Mexico.

Characteristics of the pasture Ptarmigans

Willow Ptarmigans space hardy members the the grouse family that spend many of their resides on the ground in ~ or over the tree line. Ptarmigan look simply like tiny grouse, weighing from 10 1/2 ounces to 1 1/2 pounds (0.3-0.7 kg) other than that your toes are feathered, your wings are white all year, and they have actually pure white body plumage in winter.

Like other grouse, ptarmigans have chunky bodies, quick tails and legs, and short, rounded wings. Pasture Ptarmigans weigh from 450 come 800 g, White-tailed Ptarmigans weigh about 350 g, and also Rock Ptarmigans room intermediate in size.


The willow ptarmigan deserve to be uncovered in the tundra and in thickets v alder and also willow trees of the subalpine and subarctic zones. During the summer, they can be uncovered in areas where lush vegetation and a moist atmosphere are present, consisting of arctic valleys, tree heat areas, marshy tundra and coastal regions.


In the summer, the pasture ptarmigan eats flowers, buds and also insects. In the winter, it eats twigs and buds native willows and alders.

Life cycle

The female lays seven to ten eggs in a hollowed the end area ~ above the ground the is lined through feathers and grass. She do the efforts to discover a place sheltered by rocks, plants or logs. The male guards the nesting area while the mrs incubates the eggs. The chicks flower after around three weeks and they fledge when they space 10-12 job old.


In the winter, the pasture ptarmigan often flies right into snow banks and also nestles in the eye to sleep. By flying right into the financial institutions instead that walking, lock don"t leaving tracks because that predators come follow!

Ptarmigans have three seasonal plumages every year, rather of the two that room usual for many birds. This plumages store the birds, specifically the female, fine camouflaged at every times.

The Alaska statutes - 2004

The law designating the willow ptarmigan together the main Alaska state bird is section 44.09.060 (State bird) that the 2015 Alaska Statutes, especially Title 44 (State Government), chapter 09 (State Seal, Flag, and Emblems), section 060 (State Bird).


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chapter 44.09. STATE SEAL, FLAG, and EMBLEMS. Sec. 44.09.060. State bird. The Alaska willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus alascensis Swarth) is the main bird of the state. history (Sec. 1 ch 1 SLA 1955)

Taxonomic Hierarchy: willow Ptarmigan

Kingdom: Animalia - Animal, animaux, pets Phylum: Chordata (chordates) Class: Aves (Birds) Order: Galliformes (fowls, gallinaceous birds) Family: Phasianidae (partridges, turkeys, grouse, pheasants, and quail) Subfamily: Tetraoninae (grouse) Genus: Lagopus Brisson, 1760 - Ptarmigans Species: Lagopus lagopus (Linnaeus, 1758) - willow Grouse, pasture Ptarmigan, lagopede des saules Subspecies: Lagopus lagopus alascensis Swarth, 1926 Taxonomic Serial No.: 175809