Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus)
Status in the Checklist Area - (2) Accidental

Well adapted to cold and hostile climates, ptarmigan are able to survive amazingly harsh conditions. Rock Ptarmigan are common to the north of us extending right into the tundra. The records from Cheam Mountain may be among the furthest south this species has been encountered in North America. However, given the preferred mountaintop habitats of ptarmigan species in our area and that reaching many of these areas difficult, there is plenty of unexplored areas out there.

Similar species:
Ptarmigan undergo three molts in a year so have plenty of different plumages to be seen in from completely white to a well-camoflauged brown. White-tailed Ptarmigan are our common ptarmigan species. Rock Ptarmigan are a bit larger and have black tail feathers. While males of both species are a little easier, females and young birds are not. Female Rock Ptarmigan's plumage may seem a little 'warmer' than a female White-tail's. Breast pattern may also offer a clue.

Ehrlich, Dobkin and Wheye, (1988)
Sibley, D. 2000

Noteworthy Data
23-Aug-2006 Cheam Mountain, Chilliwack D. Beeke, 2006,T. Manson One with flock of White-tailed Ptarmigan near the peak. Photographed.
05-Aug-2006 Cheam Mountain, Chilliwack A. Foxall, 2006, Ilya Povalyaev A hen with four chicks at the saddle between Cheam and Lady Peaks. Photographed.
Audio and Video    
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