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White-tailed Ptarmigan – Endangered New Mexico species

Posted by Pete | Posted in News | Posted on 13-05-2012


The white-tailed ptarmigan is a chicken like bird of the Grouse family. It’s habitat is the alpine tundra of the Sange de Cristo Mountains of New Mexico and other western states. Their brownish plumage that  blends  with the local vegetation turns snow white in winter for greater concealment from predators. It feeds on flowers, insects, buds, and leaves. This handsome bird was practically exterminated locally by humans but has been successfully reestablished in New Mexico. It is the smallest bird of the Grouse family and prefers running to flying. The main threat involves inappropriate human activities in their alpine habitat. The white-tailed ptarmigan is listed as endangered.White-tailed Ptarmigan Photo

photo www.allaboutbirds.org/White-tailed_Ptarmigan

Comments (4)

It’s no wonder that this bird is endangered. He prefers running to flying. There are not many Americans that prefer running (or walking) to flying, though Americans do have the advantage of having jet engines to do all the work for them.

There are several birds that like to run around here, the quail, road runner and the jail birds (which is probably the fastest of all). Thanks for commenting.

I am familiar with the quail and the roadrunner, but I am not sure about those jail birds since I never saw any of them when I was in New Mexico. I do have a question for you. I know that quail can fly, at least the variety that lives in Alabama and Arkansas do. During my time in New Mexico, I don’t believe I ever saw a roadrunner fly. Can they? They may be like the one in the cartoon series and can only run to escape the coyote. I do remember seeing them run so fast that it almost seemed like they were flying; but, if so, they were very low on the ground. They would crash into things often like the one in the cartoon series.

Yes that do fly but most of the time for short distances. They fly to get into trees to rob nest of eggs and nestlings. And I have seen them outrun lizards. They are fast both running and flying.

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