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Ptarmigan

Lagopus mutus

Classe: Uccelli (Aves)

Dimensions: length 35 cm, wingspan 60 cm.

Habitat: above 2,000 meters, on Alpine prairies, moraines, and screes

Diet: leaves, small branches, flowers and fruits, especially rhododendrons, bear berries, blueberries, Least Willow. Chicks feed on small invertebrates (insects, spiders, mollusks).

Reproduction: it is a monogamous species; in spring the pair occupies and defends a territory where in June the nest will be built on the ground. 5-8 eggs are laid and brooded for about three weeks

Cubs: they are born in July and can immediately find food by themselves. Their diet is rich in small invertebrates, which they hunt on the ground. At three months of age they are independent

Curiosities: when surprised by a sudden winter storm, the Ptarmigan covers itself with snow, in order to defend itself from the cold.

Notes: it changes its feathers to camouflage itself with the surrounding environment as best as it can; in winter its white color makes it invisible in the snow, whereas during the summer its brown color makes it difficult to distinguish it from the ground. This bird spends most of its time on the ground in search of food. One of its features is represented by its claws, completely covered with feathers.

In the Park: the species is widespread in most of the Park territory, in ideal habitats (Schiara, Pelf, Serva, Talvena, Pizzocco, Sass de Mura, Pavione, Busa delle Vette, Piazza del Diavolo), but it is more widespread in the western section.

Rock Ptarmigan
Rock Ptarmigan
(photo by Fabrizio Friz (CTA-CFS))
 
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