Ptarmigans have several tricks for surviving their cold arctic climate. They have feathers on their legs and feet to keep their feet warm – sort of like bird leg warmers or boots! They also change colors to outwit their predators. In winter, they turn white so they blend in with the snow. In spring, they lose their feathers, or molt, and grow new brown or gold feathers. By fall, the feathers fade to grayish brown.
Fun Facts about Ptarmigans for Kids
- Ptarmigans build nests in spring. The male ptarmigan protects the female until her eggs hatch. Then she’s on her own!
- Ptarmigans eat mostly plants. They like berries, seeds, grain and tender, young plants. They scrape at snow to get the moss growing underneath.
- Ptarmigans are hunted in Alaska and other parts of the world.
- These small birds can fly, but they stay on the ground most of the time. They gather in protected rocky areas.
- Survive: live through
- Outwit: trick
- Energy: fuel
- Conserve: save
Learn More All About Ptarmigans
Watch this video documentary about the ptarmigans:
A documentary of the nature of the ptarmigans.
Question: Where do ptarmigans sleep in the winter?
Answer: Sometimes they sleep deep within snow banks. They fly into the snow banks so they don’t leave tracks for a predator to follow. Pretty smart!
Question: What animals prey on these birds?
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