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GAP Analysis Predicted Distribution Map

White-tailed Ptarmigan (Lagopus leucurus)

Species Code: LALE

Click to enlarge Range map

= Core Habitat
= Marginal Habitat

Breeding Range Map
The green area shows the predicted habitats for breeding only. The habitats were identified using 1991 satellite imagery, Breeding Bird Atlas (BBA), other datasets and experts throughout the state, as part of the Washington Gap Analysis Project. Habitats used during non-breeding months and migratory rest-stops were not mapped.

Metadata (Data about data or how the map was made)

Click to enlarge distribution map

Other maps & Information:
  • Breeding Bird Atlas
  • NatureMapping observations
    during breeding season
  • NatureMapping observations
    throughout the year

This species is locally common at very high elevations in rocky Alpine/Parkland areas of the Cascades. However, it is absent from similar habitats in the Olympic Mountains. This species forages and nests among Alpine/Parkland tundra, rocks, willows, and snow fields.

Good habitat in the core areas of use included all rocky and nonforested areas in the Alpine/ Parkland zone.

Washington breeders represent the 'Rainier' subspecies, Lagopus leucurus rainierensis. White-tailed Ptarmigan are exclusively found breeding in Alpine/Parkland rocky or tundra habitats, generally between 5000 and 7500 feet. Few records exist from the many areas of suitable habitat, but this is due largely to the remote nature of this habitat. The subspecific status of the White-tailed Ptarmigan is controversial; the proposed subspecies are probably not valid, instead representing a decline in size and darkness of summer plumage. Although BBA data are lacking, it is likely that this species nests on Mount Adams. They formerly nested on Mount St. Helens, though these birds may have been blown to Alberta after the 1980 eruption! In any case, ash fallout has covered most of the formerly suitable habitat on this mountain. In Pend Oreille County, this species is apparently not found on Mount Salmo.

Translated from the Washington Gap Analysis Bird Volume by Uchenna Bright
Text edited by Gussie Litwer
Webpage designed by Dave Lester