Image 51 of 347
Ptarmigan Lagopus mutus Male bird in winter plumage L 34-36cm. Hardy, mountain gamebird. Indifferent to observers but easily overlooked: unobtrusive and blends in well with surroundings. In flight, both sexes reveal white wings and black tail. Forms small flocks outside breeding season. Sexes are separable with care. Adult male in winter is white except for dark eye, lores and bill. In spring and summer, has mottled and marbled greyish buff upperparts, amount of white on back decreasing with time; belly and legs are white while striking red wattle fades by mid-summer. Adult female in winter is white except for black eye and bill. In spring and summer, has finely barred buffish grey upperparts; extent of white on back diminishes with time. Juvenile resembles uniformly brown female. Voice Utters a rattling kur-kurrrr call. Status Confined to Scottish Highlands, favouring rocky ground with lichens, mosses and other mountain vegetation.