State Symbols USA home page

Google

  SITEMAP  

  QUIZ  

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
USA (national)

Alaska State Bird

Willow ptarmigan in summer - click to see all state birds
Willow ptarmigan in summer plumage; photo © Rob Bennetts:
Bird Population Studies USGS (used by permission).
See all state birds - National Bird.

Willow Ptarmigan

See willow ptarmigan video below

The willow ptarmigan was designated the official state bird of Alaska in 1955. There are three kinds of ptarmigan and all can be found in Alaska - the willow ptarmigan and rock ptarmigan (which are also found in Scandinavia, Russia, and northern Eurasia), and white-tailed ptarmigan (found only in North America). The famous red grouse of Scotland is a race of the willow ptarmigan.

Ptarmigan are arctic grouse. The willow ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus) changes color from light brown in summer to snow white in winter for effective camouflage from predators. Another distinctive feature is its feathered toes. In winter months the willow ptarmigan eats mosses and lichens, willow buds and twigs, a little birch; seeds and berries when available. In summer their diet expands to vegetable matter and occasionally caterpillars or beetles.

Willow ptarmigan - click to see all state birds
Molting willow ptarmigan nearly white for winter; photo © Dr. Brad Bergstrom / Index of Alaskan Birds / Valdosta State U (used by permission). See All State Birds - National Bird.

Ptarmigan are sociable in winter and usually feed and roost in the snow close together. In spring flocks of several thousand sometimes appear en route to their breeding grounds. These huge flocks rapidly disperse as summer areas are reached and cocks demand elbow room for their share of the tundra.

 

Source:
Ptarmigan - Wildlife Notebook: Alaska Dept. of Fish & Game
Willow Ptarmigan - borealforest.org
Links:
Willow Ptarmigan: (sound file) eNature - Nat. Wildlife Fed.
Willow Ptarmigan - Lagopus lagopus: USGS
All State Birds - National Bird


    

 

Alaska Symbols & Icons:

bird - flower
insect - fish
mammal - dog
marine mammal  
gemstone
mineral - fossil

flag - seal
motto - holidays
language - quarter
name - nickname
song - sport
tree - soil
 

Share |

Alaska Alphabet Book - L is for Last Frontier
Alaska Alphabet Book:
L is for Last Frontier

Birds, Birds, Birds! DVD
Birds, Birds, Birds! DVD

Arctic Wings: Birds of the Arctic
Arctic Wings: Birds of the Arctic
National Wildlife Refuge [With CD]

Google
What are your State Symbols?
State Symbols USA is a nonprofit organization promoting the conservation
and appreciation of our natural treasures and cultural heritage.