In the winter time, the Willow Ptarmigan, proper name Lagopus lagopus, becomes pure white, except for some black plumage on their tail. This means that they can blend in with their snowy tundra surroundings fairly easily. This Willow Ptarmigan is in the tundra landscape near Hudson Bay in Churchill Manitoba.
These birds are mostly vegetarians although they can eat insects when they are young, however when they grow up they do not eat any meat. They can be quite vulnerable because they mostly stay on the ground and they don't really fly so they can be easily caught by predators or hunted by humans. They only time they become really aggressive is when they have their young with them and then in those cases they have been known to attack humans and there is even a case of one attacking a grizzly bear.
Willow Ptarmigan are not in trouble in terms of their numbers and their populations have held steady over the years. It is mostly because they live in the tundra where there is no human habitation and a lot less predators, that these birds been able to survive so well. Other species of grouse that live in the forests have not been so lucky as they have suffered habitat loss and increased hunting.
Willow Ptarmigan, Lagopus lagopus, foraging in the tundra near Hudson Bay, Churchill, Manitoba, Canada.
I photographed this photo with the digital SLR camera model Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II, aperture of f/6.3, exposure time of 1/500 sec. on ISO 100, as always I used a original Canon Lens, the focus lenght for this picture was 300mm.
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