ptarmigan


ptarmigan
/tahr"mi geuhn/, n., pl. ptarmigans, (esp. collectively) ptarmigan.
any of several grouses of the genus Lagopus, of mountainous and cold northern regions, having feathered feet.
[1590-1600; pseudo-Gk sp. of ScotGael tarmarchan, akin to Ir tarmanach]

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Any of three or four species of grouse (genus Lagopus) of cold regions.

Ptarmigan plumage changes from white in winter to gray or brown, with barring, in spring and summer. The toes are covered with stiff feathers above and below. The common ptarmigan (L. mutus) occurs throughout the British Isles, Europe, and North America, where it is called rock ptarmigan. Ptarmigans survive winter in the Arctic and on mountaintops by browsing shrubs and scratching up lichens and leaves; they burrow in snow to sleep. Males begin group displays in early spring and then separate and display singly in adjoining territories.

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bird
      any of three or four species of partridgelike grouse of cold regions, belonging to the genus Lagopus of the grouse family, Tetraonidae. They undergo seasonal changes of plumage, from white against winter snowfields to gray or brown, with barring, in spring and summer against tundra vegetation. Ptarmigan differ from other members of the grouse family in having the toes covered with stiff feathers above and below.

  The common ptarmigan (L. mutus) ranges in the British Isles, Europe, and North America, where it is called rock ptarmigan. Also distributed circumpolarly is the willow ptarmigan, or willow grouse (L. lagopus; see photograph—>), a more northerly bird of lowlands. On Rocky Mountain tundra south to New Mexico is the white-tailed ptarmigan (L. leucurus; see photograph—>).

      Ptarmigan survive winter in the Arctic and mountain-top fastnesses by browsing shrubs and scratching up lichens and leaves; they burrow in snow to sleep. Males, which have harsh cackling calls, begin to display socially in early spring and then separate and display singly in adjoining territories.

      The name snow partridge, given in many localities to ptarmigan, is best reserved for a ptarmigan-like Asian partridge (see partridge).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • ptarmigan — ● ptarmigan nom masculin (anglais ptarmigan) Nom donné à un type de grouse. ⇒PTARMIGAN, subst. masc. ZOOL. Perdrix blanche des montagnes et des contrées arctiques; p. méton., viande de cet animal. Synon. plus usuel lagopède. Souper d un bon… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Ptarmigan — Ptar mi*gan, n. [Gael. tarmachan; cf. Ir. tarmochan, tarmonach.] (Zo[ o]l.) Any grouse of the genus {Lagopus}, of which numerous species are known. The feet are completely feathered. Most of the species are brown in summer, but turn white, or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ptarmigan — [tär′mi gən] n. pl. ptarmigans or ptarmigan [altered (by assoc. with PTERO ) < earlier termigan < Scot tarmachan] any of a genus (Lagopus) of brownish arctic, subarctic, or alpine grouse with feathered legs and feet, usually having white… …   English World dictionary

  • Ptarmigan — Ptarmigan, das Schneehuhn …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • ptarmigan — bird of the grouse family, 1590s, from Gael. tarmachan, of unknown origin. The PT (Cf. pt ) spelling (1680s) is a mistaken Greek construction …   Etymology dictionary

  • ptarmigan — ► NOUN ▪ a grouse of northern mountains and the Arctic, having grey and black plumage which changes to white in winter. ORIGIN Scottish Gaelic tàrmachan …   English terms dictionary

  • Ptarmigan — NOTOC : This article deals with the European species named Ptarmigan known in North America as the Rock Ptarmigan. For the Willow Ptarmigan, see Willow Grouse; see also White tailed Ptarmigan.Taxobox name = Ptarmigan status = LC status system =… …   Wikipedia

  • ptarmigan — (ptar mi gan) s. m. Nom d un oiseau des contrées arctiques. SUPPLÉMENT AU DICTIONNAIRE    PTARMIGAN. Ajoutez : REM. Le ptarmigan se trouve en deçà des contrées arctiques. •   Toute la contrée [les Highlands d Ecosse] a été atteinte d une épidémie …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • ptarmigan — [16] Ptarmigan was borrowed from Scottish Gaelic tarmachan, a diminutive form of tarmach ‘ptarmigan’. There is no etymological justification for the spelling pt . It was foisted on the word in the late 17th century in the erroneous belief that it …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • ptarmigan — [16] Ptarmigan was borrowed from Scottish Gaelic tarmachan, a diminutive form of tarmach ‘ptarmigan’. There is no etymological justification for the spelling pt . It was foisted on the word in the late 17th century in the erroneous belief that it …   Word origins


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