Winds were howling on the Continental Divide today but two White-tailed Ptarmigan feeding on willow buds were a treat to photograph. Ptarmigan, also referred to as snow quail, are an elusive member of the grouse family and finding them during the winter can be a challenge. Their wintertime white plumage camouflages them in snow fields above timberline. Ptarmigan move slowly and avoid flight during the extreme cold of winter in order to conserve energy. Often hidden from view, these high mountain birds roost in snowbanks that insulate them from the frigid temperatures of alpine habitat.
White-tailed Ptarmigan conserving energy under willow twigs
White-tailed Ptarmigan feeding on willow
White-tailed Ptarmigan • Front Range, Continental Divide • Colorado
White-tailed Ptarmigan in alpine habitat • Continental Divide • Colorado
View more of my White-tailed Ptarmigan images in the Wildlife gallery of this website.