Willow Ptarmigan

Individual Willow Ptarmigan in the snow. These birds tend to have a faint pink hue to their winter plumage as opposed to pure white, yet are well camouflaged from their predators. The Willow Ptarmigan is the largest and most numerous of the three ptarmigan species.

Technical Details

Composite: No
EF 70-200mm + 2x @ 400mm; f/5.6 @ 1/4000 sec, -1 EV, ISO 400

1 Like

What a beauty! Ive always loved ptarmigan.

You’ve caught that pink hue too - I wonder is it caused by the flesh underneath? This is a shot to frame - or mount a canvas on a white wall.

Thank you Ms. Smith. They are indeed spectacular birds. Not easy to capture in an environment in which they are so well camouflaged. Auto focus does not work because there is not enough contrast. Fortunately their black eye is easy to manually focus on. One only needs to be lying flat on the ground and move close enough to fill the frame without spooking the birds.

Thank you, Mike. I am not sure anyone knows for certain why the pale pink is seen. Perhaps it is related to the fact that ptarmigans have three seasonal plumages per year, instead of the two that are usual for most birds. It certainly hasn’t been a detriment to their survival.