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All information gathered first-hand, since 1995

Lagopus mutus   –   Lagopède Alpin

Ptarmigan, seen on the sides of Mont Bégo in the Mercantour, change their coloring each season to blend in with their environment. In all seasons their wings remain mainly white, especially visible in flight.

Winter: plumage is all white, with legs and even toes heavily feathered; there is a black patch at the end of the tail, which is often Nature's way of presenting predators with a target in the wrong place. Males have a black patch from bill to eye. The heavy feathering on the feet adapt them well to walking across the snow.

Summer: greyish-buff chest and upperparts, with the male mottled darker and the female mor rufous.
Autumn: upperparts of both sexes, especially the male, become greyer.


36 cm


high mountains well above the tree-line. They nest beneath low vegetation or in the hollows of rock.