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The birds

Mountain ptarmigan

Mountain ptarmigan

Mountain ptarmigan, a relic of the Ice Age, he is a bird of the far North, tundry. In Europe, it occurs in the palearctic regions and in the Alps and Pyrenees. In addition, it is found in Asia. In terms of size, it ranks between the partridge and the pheasant. The plumage differs from other capercaillies, which changes twice a year. In winter, it has dense plumage, snow-white. It is then a great heat insulator, in addition, the grouse becomes difficult to see in snowy spaces. Its paws are well adapted to harsh climatic conditions, because in these areas the temperature drops to -40 ° C. Her feet and toes, constantly in contact with ice, they are covered with feathers like this, that they resemble the paws of a mammal rather than a bird. The feathers on the fingers not only have a protective function, but also make it easier to navigate on snow, because they increase the surface area and act like snowshoes. In summer, the white robe turns brown, allowing grouses to hide in the moors, peat bogs and in the tundra, so in areas with a reddish tint. The grouse moults three or four times a year, renewing even the claws and the horny beak coating, which is a common phenomenon in capercaillies. Its low active flight is noisy. A very rare grouse today, in some European countries it is protected all year round, however, in France it is hunted.

Male summer robe mountain grouse it is brownish gray, decorated with wavy black lines on the chest and back (1). The female has a brown-yellow veined coat (2). Both sexes have white wings in all seasons. The male's winter plumage is snow-white, except for the tail and the black line between the eye and the beak (3), not found in the female (4).

It is very similar common grouse (L. lagopus) living in the north of Europe and Asia. Its summer plumage resembles that of a rock ptarmigan like this, that they cannot be distinguished. The winter coat is also the same, but the red grouse does not have a black line between the eye and the beak (5). He lives in the north of the British Isles Scotch grouse (L. scoticus). Her summer plumage is dark, brown-red, and the wings are almost black. The plumage also remains brown in winter (6). It is famous Grouse, which many hunters dream of. They do not occur in Poland.