Latin Name: Lagopus mutus Scottish Name: Snow grouse or Gealag bheinne. Meaning: White one of the mountain.
Statistics: Body length 34-36cm, tail 8cm, wingspan 54-60cm, weight 400-600g.
Physical Description: The ptarmigan is a small grouse, completely white
in winter except for its black tail. In summer, it is well adapted to its rocky
habitat, with black, white, grey and brown plumage, though it retains its white
winter wings and under-body.
Scottish Distribution: Winters and breeds in North and Central Highlands,
Habitat: The ptarmigan favours a mosaic of upland habitats from 1000-1200m:
rocks interspersed with carpets of moss and lichen; and dwarf heath of bilberry,
crowberry, heather and dwarf willow.
Diet: This bird mainly eats shoots from ground plants like bilberry, crowberry
and heather, but also takes catkins and berries from trees in spring and autumn.