The three species are all specialists of cold regions. Willow Grouse is a circumpolar boreal forest species, White-tailed Ptarmigan is an North American alpine bird, and Ptarmigan breeds in both Arctic and mountain habitats across Eurasia and North America. They are sedentary species, all, with the exception of the Red Grouse, having a white winter plumage that helps them blend into the snowy background
These are hardy vegetarian birds, but insects are also taken by the developing young. In all species except for the Willow Grouse, the female takes all responsibility for nesting and caring for the chicks, as is typical with gamebirds.
The genus name Lagopus is derived from Ancient Greek lagos (λαγως), meaning "hare", + pous (πους), "foot", in reference to the feathered feet and toes typical of this cold-adapted group (see also Snowshoe Hare). The species names muta and leucura were for a long time misspelt mutus and leucurus, in the erroneous belief that the ending of Lagopus denotes masculine gender. However, as the Ancient Greek term λαγωπους is of feminine gender, and the species name has to agree with that, the feminine muta is correct (David & Gosseiln 2002).
A multilocus assay reveals high nucleotide diversity and limited differentiation among Scandinavian willow grouse ( Lagopus lagopus ).(Research article)
Dec 19, 2008; Authors: Sofia Berlin (corresponding author) [1,2]; Maria Quintela ; Jacob Höglund  Background Until now, knowledge of the...
Free love in the far north: plural breeding and polyandry of arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) on Bylot Island, Nunavut.
Mar 01, 2007; Abstract: Molecular studies show that canid breeding systems are more complex than field data have sometimes suggested. For...