The Royal Canadian Geographical Society and Canadian Geographic present
National Bird Project - Vote for Canada's National Bird
National Bird Project - Vote for Canada's National Bird

Upland and Game Birds

Rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta)

Votes: 131

Rock ptarmigan
Photo illustration: Canadian Geographic; Photo: Ómar Runólfsson / CG Photo Club

This ptarmigan, camouflaged white in winter and brown-and-black mottled in the summer, is sometimes compared to a chicken (and nicknamed the "snow chicken") because of its thick body and short tail. It lives year-round across sub-Arctic and Arctic tundra.

*Territorial bird of Nunavut

(Both Sexes)
Weight 420-640 g
Length 32-40 cm
Wingspan 58 cm
Rock ptarmigan range map
Range map courtesy iBird for Windows
Click to enlarge

Vote for the Rock ptarmigan for Canada’s National Bird


Comments and essays appear in the language in which they were submitted

The rock ptarmigan is one of the nonmigratory birds native to Canada. It can be found throughout Canada's arctic mainland and islands

Ptarmigan are hardy birds that live in the arctic all year and adapt to the challenges by changing to accommodate to the climatic conditions. They are gentle little birds that come up to you and eat out of your hand. They are truly Canadian symbols because they easily adapt, they are hardy and resourceful and friendly to a friendly visitor.

This seems like a totally Canadian-based bird so would be very appropriate as a national symbol.

C'est un oiseau de mon enfance. A Fermont on trouve beaucoup de lagopèdes. De beaux souvenirs pour moi.


Don't let this bird go. Ever

Having lived in a small town for most of my life, I began to appreciate nature and wildlife. Living on a boat house for some time has taught me to really take the time to take it all in and not worry so much about what everyone else is doing in Bluebell. The Rock ptarmigan would sometimes land on my boat house and I thought it was so stunning. The calls from the Rock ptarmigan really inspired me musically. This inspired me to manage musical acts in Bluebell. I owe a lot to this bird. I currently manage some of the local acts in Bluebell. About a few months later I decided to move back and forth from Nashville to Bluebell with AB. This is why I believe in this bird.

I see these birds when I walk on the Brighton Pier. They are really lovely and look so peaceful. Sometimes I watch them while listening to the sounds of the calming sea.

Love, peace and birds. Three words I live by.

I really enjoy life and this bird

Bird is legit.

Sometimes I think about the world and its beauty. The Rock ptermigan is one of the most majestic creatures ever to set foot on this Earth. I believe that it is a terrific representation of Canada. It soars through the blue sky near my home town. It is a great, great, great bird. It reminds me of peace and serenity something that I have missed dearly. This bird can really change my perspective on life and my own identity as a person in this world. This bird can do amazing things to anyone if you just let it in.

My name's Lil' B
And I love you

This bird is home TO ME #SEANPENN

Love this bird

J`aime cet oiseau parce qu'il est blanc en hiver et brun en été.

They represent Canada so majestic and beautiful. #RockPtarmigan

Rock ptarmigan are the best!

these birds are so cool looks like their wearing mukluks

Ptarmigan!! Wooooo

The rock ptarmigan rocks!

The rock ptarmigan is a true Canadian treasure. My son and I enjoy watching the rock ptarmigan when we hike up the mountains. I enjoy hearing their majestic sounds. They are a great representation of Canada and that why I voted for the rock ptarmigan.

Rock ptarmigans are cool!

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