Lagopus – Ptarmigans

A small genus of birds with feathered feet and toes to combat living in extremely low-temperature

Game birds living in cold upland areas have white winter plumage that blends them with their snowy environment; only Red grouse lacks this plumage. Birds have white flight feathers, while all other birds have black feathers that improve the performance of wings during flight. Like other gamebirds, only the female takes care of the newly hatched chicks, except for the Willow ptarmigan, where the male also takes responsibility for the chicks.

The territorial birds are hardy vegetarians taking a seasonal diet and foraging on plant matter, while young chicks also take insects. The white-tailed ptarmigans are the smallest birds of the grouse family. The meat of Rock ptarmigan is a popular part of festive meals in Icelandic cuisine.