The White-Tailed Ptarmigan Thriving in Colorado's Alpine Environment

Jan 15, 2019

The Naturalist Nights Winter Series continues this week with a talk on the White-Tailed Ptarmigan. KDNK's Mark Duggan spoke with Amy Seglund of Colorado Parks & Wildlife about what makes the alpine bird special.

The White-Tailed Ptarmigan, a grouse whose range includes much of Colorado's high country. The bird is able to camouflage itself by changing the colors of its feathers from white in winter to speckled brown in summer.
Credit National Park Service

The small grouse uses a remarkable camouflage to hide itself in the harsh high country. It molts to a snowy white in winter and a speckled brown in summer, allowing it to blend into its habitat to avoid contact with predators and humans.

Kat Bernier and Amy Seglund of Colorado Parks & Wildlife have studied the White-Tailed Ptarmigan extensively. Bernier is a wildlife field research biologist and Seglund is the agency's statewide Species Conservation Coordinator. Bernier is appearing at this week's Naturalist Nights series to talk about the latest findings on the bird.

Naturalist Nights is an ongoing series of talks at the Third Street Center in Carbondale and the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies.