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bird Ptarmigan

Identify It >   Birds Section >   Ptarmigan >

Scientific name:  Lagopus mutus

Size:  Up to 38cm

Distribution:  Found mainly in the north of Scotland

Months seen:  All year round

Habitat:  Mountainsides and moorland with plenty of heather

Food:  Heather and bilberry

Special features:  In summer the plumage of the ptarmigan provides excellent camouflage against the lichen covered rocks in its surroundings.  In winter the plumage changes to match the snow covered mountains of its environment.  The ptarmigan becomes completely white except for some black markings around each eye and the tail.  Because it has to endure such cold temperatures, even the toes of the ptarmigan are feathered.

The ptarmigan breeding season is between April and June, when you may see males fighting over females.  The nest is made on the ground and the female produces cream eggs which are marked with brown spots.

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