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Conservation status: Green

The ptarmigan is a plump gamebird, slightly larger than a grey partridge. In summer, is a mixture of grey, brown and black above with white bellies and wings. In winter, it becomes totally white except for its tail and eye-patch, which remain black. It breeds in the highest mountains of the Highlands of Scotland on the Arctic like landscape there. Birds are residents, seldom moving far from breeding sites. In severe cold weather, birds may move from the highest ground to the edge of forests.



Latin name

Lagopus mutus


Grouse (Tetraonidae)

Where to see them

The only place to see it is on the highest mountains of the highlands of Scotland.

When to see them

All year round.

What they eat

Shoots, leaves, leaf buds, berries and insects.


EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-2,000-15,000 pairs--




Patrik Aberg, Xeno-canto

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