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The Kid Should See This

The beautiful, comical, Willow Ptarmigan

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The Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus) is a plump Arctic grouse named for the far northern tundras’ shrubby willow growth where it’s found. Mottled brown in summer, these stunning birds are camouflaged and insulated in bright white for the winter snow. They grow feathers on their feet for easier movement across snowdrifts, and even “spend the long winter nights in cozy caves they excavate in snow.”

But these birds have three additional traits of note, as seen in the 2018 video above: Though wild, ptarmigans can appear unconcerned by human presence; breeding males can exhibit red eyebrows or ‘eye-combs’β€”a distinctive feature in some grouse species; and they emit quick, deep clucks and growls that are comically expressive.

Talkative Willow Ptarmigan
Tolkuton in Finland uploaded both of these amusing Willow Ptarmigan videos. The bird below was filmed in 2022. Both grouses appear inquisitive and talkative.

This species of grouse has similar eye-combs, as well as inflatable red-orange air sacs in their necks: Stomping, fluffing, puffing: The mating displays of lesser prairie-chickens.

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Bonus: The Earth’s magnetic field helps foxes target mice in the snow.

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