American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Any of various grouses of the genus Lagopus, inhabiting arctic, subarctic, and alpine regions of the Northern Hemisphere and having feathered legs and feet and plumage that is brown or gray in summer and white in winter.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A bird of the family Tetraonidæ and genus Lagopus, having feathered feet. The name was originally applied, in Scotland, to L. mutus or alpinus, a bird which formerly inhabited England and Wales as well as Scotland, and is also found in Russia, Scandinavia, the Alps, Pyrenees, etc., and is represented in Iceland, Greenland, Siberia, and North America by a closely allied species, L. rupestris. This bird turns white in winter, like all of the genus Lagopus, excepting L. scoticus, the red grouse, moor-fowl, or moor-game of Great Britain. The willow-grouse, L. albus or saliceti, of sub-arctic distribution in Europe, Asia, and America, L. hemileucurus of Spitzbergen, and L. leucurus of alpine regions in western North America are other ptarmigans. See
Lagopus, and cut under grouse.
- n. Any of three species of small grouse in the genus Lagopus found in subarctic tundra areas of North America and Eurasia.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Zoöl.) 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 nearly white, in winter.
- n. large Arctic and subarctic grouse with feathered feet and usually white winter plumage
- From Scottish Gaelic tàrmachan. The pt- comes from a mistaken Greek construction. (Wiktionary)
- Alteration (influenced by the spelling pt in Greek words like pteron, wing) of Scottish Gaelic tarmachan. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“I saw there also a beautiful white bird called a ptarmigan, which is a grouse, but it could not be caught.”
“We were far into the Brooks Range foothills now, at 3,100 feet, and perhaps the altitude would pay bonus points in ptarmigan.”
“The people who worked here followed the ancient custom of nature, whereby the ptarmigan is the color of dead leaves in the fall and of snow in the winter, and the chameleon, who is black when he lies upon a stump and turns green when he moves to a leaf.”
“The enemies of the ptarmigan are the larger birds of prey, and animals of the weasel kind.”
“Among birds, the ptarmigan is a fine example of protective colouring.”
“We used to get on to this lande by walking up the bed of a rivulet, and once on it we had perfect massacres of winged game, especially of that sort of gray grouse called ptarmigan by the English.”
“After the soup, we had turbot, and by and by a bottle of Chateau Margaux, very delectable; and then some lambs 'feet, delicately done, and some cutlets of I know not what peculiar type; and finally a ptarmigan, which is of the same race of birds as the grouse, but feeds high up towards the summits of the Scotch mountains.”
“Even medium-sized birds and mammals such as ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus) and hares seek thermal refuges in snow caves when resting.”
“Also, where you are panning most likely you will have grouse and ptarmigan which is great eating and an non-resident small game license is cheap .....”
“There's even one kind of ptarmigan, not around our Caves, but south of us, that doesn't turn white.”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘ptarmigan’.
birds with singular names from
at least 9 English dictionaries
...with grateful thanks to telofy (for "cnidarian"), and to the song "Crazy ABC's" by Barenaked Ladies.
Birds endemic to the United States and/or North America.
Words for things both tangible and nonanthropic
bird names that are fun to say
Looking for tweets for ptarmigan.