Thursday, November 11, 2010
USA - Alaska - State Bird
Alaska's State Bird The Willow Ptarmigan. This bird changes plumage with the seasons. White in the winter, dark in the summer. Here shown in transition.
Sent by Sarah, a WiP partner from Alaska, USA.
This is from Wikipedia : The Willow Grouse (Lagopus lagopus) or Willow Ptarmigan is a bird of the grouse subfamily. It is a sedentary species, breeding in birch and other forests and moorlands in the tundra of Scotland, Scandinavia, Siberia, and of Alaska and northern Canada. It is the state bird of Alaska.
In summer male's plumage is marbled brown, with a reddish hue to the neck and breast, a black tail, and white wings and underparts. It has two inconspicuous wattles above the eyes, which become prominent in the breeding season. The female is similar, but lacks the wattles and has brown feathers strewn all over the belly. In winter, both sexes' plumages become completely white, except for the black tail.
They can be distinguished from the (Rock) Ptarmigan (L. muta) by habitat (L. lagopus is not found above the tree line), larger size and thicker bill; the summer plumage is browner, the winter Willow Ptarmigan's male lacks the black loral stripe. It is a little bigger than the ptarmigan.
The distinctive British subspecies L. l. scotica (Red Grouse) has sometimes been considered a separate species. This moorland bird is reddish brown all over, except the white feet.
The male's call is a loud go-back go-back.