Willow Ptarmigan

Willow ptarmigan, Denali Nat'l. Park, Alaska in August

Willow ptarmigan, Denali Nat’l. Park, Alaska in August

The State Bird of Alaska, the willow ptarmigan is one of those birds that looks completely different depending on the season.  A member of the grouse family in an arctic state where prey is not abundant, Lagopus lagopusis have to exhibit extraordinary protective methods for their survival.  In the summer it is mostly brown to blend into the vegetation (pictured here), in the winter they are primarily white to camouflage into the snowy landscape.


We found these beauties in a river bed while driving through Denali National Park.  Since we were in a RV, we took out our lunch and had a picnic with them.  That was a good call, because we didn’t see too many more of these lovely but skittish birds.


Unless you are comfortable in arctic temperatures, there is a small window of time in which to visit Alaska.  June through August is the Alaska travel season, so if you “have always wanted to see Alaska,” it’s time to go now!  Have fun!


Photo credit:  Athena Alexander


11 thoughts on “Willow Ptarmigan

  1. I alway dream of driving to Alaska, I wonder if I’ll ever get to do that. Thanks for the tips Jet, nice picture too! Have a great Sunday! 🙂

    • Yes, I know, it seems more likely that it might be the bald eagle perhaps? Though you bring up a good point, Brick…there is nothing predictable about Alaska. Lol. Many thanks, Brick!

  2. Nature’s power never stops surprising me,dear Jet ! Amazed at how they camouflage ; if you don’t know that you might think that they are different birds … Love and kisses, Doda ~♥~♥~♥~

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