Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus muta) - Wiki
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[Photo] Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus muta); Scientific name: Lagopus mutus. Two raichou (Lagopus muta japonica) in autumn plumage. This bird lives in Hokkaido and the high mountain zone in Japan. A Raichou will become pure white if winter comes. This photograph is the middle of becoming white. It is specified for the natural monument in Japan. Source: Photo taken by Kumaapr9 at Kumonotaira in North-Alps in Japan. Date: 2005/10/8. Author: Kumaapr9 (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Kumaapr9). Explanation in Japanese: 冬毛に???わる途中のライチョウ。北アルプスの雲の平にてKumaapr9が撮影。足元はもう???っ白です。
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, Lagopus muta
, is a medium-sized (31-35 cm or 12-14 inches) gamebird in the grouse
family. It is known as Rock Ptarmigan
, or colloquially Snow Chicken
in North America, where it is the official bird for the territory of Nunavut, Canada.
It is a sedentary species, breeding across arctic and subarctic Eurasia and North America (including Greenland) on rocky mountainsides and tundra. There are isolated populations in the mountains of Scotland, the Pyrenees, the Alps, Bulgaria, the Urals, the Pamir Mountains, the Altay Mountains and Japan. During the last ice age, the species was far more widespread in continental Europe (Tomek & Boche??ski 2005).
is seasonally camouflaged; its feathers moult from white in winter to brown in spring or summer. Breeding males have greyish upper parts with white wings and underparts. In winter, plumage becomes completely white except for the black tail. They can be distinguished from the winter Willow Grouse
in North America) by habitat - Rock Ptarmigan
prefer higher elevations and more barren habitat; they are also smaller in size with a more delicate bill.
The male's "song" is a loud croaking.
feed primarily on birch and willow buds and catkins when available. They will also take various seeds, leaves, flowers and berries of other plant species. Insects are also taken by the developing young.
In the mountains of Honsh??, Japan, the Ptarmigan
is called raichou (literally "thunder bird") and according to legend protects people and buildings from fire and thunder.
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