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Flushed out. "Obscurus group?"

Flushed out.
Photo Information
Copyright: Jay Meeuwig (Shoot_Score) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 445 W: 302 N: 670] (2376)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-04-29
Categories: Birds, Bushveld, Mountain
Camera: Kodak DX7590
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Date Submitted: 2006-12-27 0:37
Viewed: 6354
Points: 18
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I have posted where I first spotted this bird... These birds are masters of camouflage. See if you can see the bird in the WS shot.

Whereas I am not 100% sure that this a ptarmigan < Spruce Grouse perhaps? > , I will wait till someone flushes out my bird...
Note the bird's feathered legs.

If - as I suspect it is the Lagopus muta or mutus, then here is more information:

The ptarmigan is capable of camouflaging itself by changing the color of its feathers to blend with its surroundings.
The feathers can be white in winter or brown in spring or summer.

The word ptarmigan comes from the Scottish Gaelic tàrmachan, which may be related to "torm" . The silent initial p was added in the 17th century through the influence of Greek, especially pteron, Greek for "wing".

Scientific name
The Ptarmigan's genus name, Lagopus comes from the Greek lagos, meaning "hare", and pus, meaning foot. It refers to the bird's feathered legs. The species name mutus comes from Latin and means "mute", referring to the loud croaking song of the male.

I await your feedback

PS Location of the shoot: Red Streak Park area above Radium, BC

PSS On the same trip

mlines, bullybeef53 has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To bullybeef53: CloseShoot_Score 1 01-15 18:58
To Fisher: In hiding...Shoot_Score 2 01-05 12:50
To Clancys: Appreciated!Shoot_Score 1 01-01 10:23
To loot: Research et alShoot_Score 1 12-27 21:34
To cuckooroller: Spruce Grouse?Shoot_Score 1 12-27 18:48
To cuckooroller: Thanx!Shoot_Score 1 12-27 18:43
To anniejo: What can we grouse abt.?Shoot_Score 1 12-27 15:30
To wuta: Yes it has socks!Shoot_Score 1 12-27 14:32
To Adanac: blue grouseShoot_Score 2 12-27 09:48
To jossim: IDShoot_Score 1 12-27 09:03
To Adanac: blue grouse IIShoot_Score 1 12-27 08:57
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Critiques [Translate]

Merci pour le partage et bravo pour le beau spécimen.
Merci et Bonne Année!

Hi Jay,
Great capture and love the workshop photo, Good detail and color, not sure but I think this is a blue grouse, usually when I think I know something I get proved wrong, LOL just ask my wife. Thanks for sharing, Rick.

You are likely right about this bird being a "ptarmigan", and a great shot of this elusive master of "blending in" with the background. I like the way the background fades just enough to make the bird really stand out, while STILL blending into the surroundings.
You must have been patient to get this shot, as not a feather has been ruffled.......

  • Great 
  • wuta Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 855 W: 2 N: 617] (2142)
  • [2006-12-27 14:11]
  • [+]

. Hello Jay , This one head ook socks , haha , joke , A Very good shot from the bird good sharpnes colours {camouflage} details nice bg ,very good , Greetings Teunie , And Happy New Year .

Hi Jay,
We can immediately eliminate genera Bonasa, and Falcipennis on gross morphology here. The first thing to look at when you think anything is in genus Lagopus are the tarsometatarsi and phalanges. Lagopus has feathered tarsometarsi, and more importantly also phalanges, that are feathered, and they are white colored in birds of both seasonal plumage phases - summer and winter. So, here we have a bird with non-feathered phalanges, and the feathering of the tarsometarsi are off-colored, not white. So, not Lagopus. The only thing we have left really by elimination is the Blue Grouse. This is an adult male Dendragapus obscurus - apparently one of the races of the so-called "obscurus group" of races, ranging inland.

  • Great 
  • loot Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
  • [2006-12-27 19:50]
  • [2] [+]

Hi Jay

After all the research I've done on the web, following your e-mail, it seems like all I had to do was to refresh this page and I would have seen (cuckooroller) Steve Pryor's well laid out identification of the species. He really sounds like he knows what he's talking about with all that technical stuff (chuckle) doesn't he? Unfortunately it was not there when I opened your page originally and therefore I had to take a lengthy process of elimination searching through all the possibilities, such as:

Rock Ptarmigan - Lagopus mutus or Lagopus mutus japonicus.
Willow Grouse - Lagopus lagopus.
Red Grouse - Lagopus lagopus scoticus.
White-tailed Ptarmigan - Lagopus leucurus.
Ruffed Grouse - Bonasa umbellus.
Sooty (Blue) GrouseDendragapus fuliginosus.

After all this I agree with his analysis as it definitively is a Dusky (Blue) Grouse - Dendragapus obscurus. I hope the e-mail with all the supporting information will clarify this for you. Don't let the majority of photos on the web showing the Blue Grouse confuse you since most of the photos shows the male while strutting its breeding colours and display. This makes it look like quite a different bird, but when it is relaxed in its normal plumage the obvious match becomes apparent like here, here, or here. The orange above the eye, the white half circle on the throat, the evenly coloured grey/black on the neck and back, the shape of the tail, and the white blotch at the back side, together with the mottled wing patterns are unmistakable.

Great shot with excellent composition, colours, details, and exposure. Thanks for the challenge.

Friendly regards

PS. And if (Adanac) Rick Price's wife tells him his wrong again, sorry, she will be the one who will have to eat humble pie this time.

Excellence Photo, Jay.

Hi Jay,

You did well capturing the Blue on the run. A point and shoot has a shutter lag, you managed well. Excellent shot and well done on the comp.


I saw the birds but just barely . If I was walking in the woods , I would miss it.
You have very keen eyes.
are photograph is very sharp and colorful.how close How close Were you?

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