Rock Ptarmigan Lagopus muta


Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
Cramp, S. and Simmons, K.E.L. (eds). 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - -

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2016 Least Concern
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status altitudinal migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type Average mass -

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 77,700,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 17,500,000 medium
Number of locations -
Severely Fragmented -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 5000000-24999999 poor estimated 2012
Population trend Decreasing suspected -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) - - -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Percentage in largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 4.2 - - -

Population justification: The global population is estimated to number > c.8,000,000 individuals (Rich et al. 2004). The European population is estimated at 257,000-1,010,000 pairs, which equates to 514,000-2,020,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms approximately 10% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 5,140,000-20,200,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed. National population estimates include: <c.100 breeding pairs in China; c.100-10,000 breeding pairs in Japan and c.100,000-1 million breeding pairs in Russia (Brazil 2009).

Trend justification: The population has declined locally owing to habitat loss (especially over-grazing by sheep) and mountain tourism, including establishment of ski-resorts. The species is not thought to be vulnerable to over-hunting (del Hoyo et al. 1994). In Europe the population size is estimated to be decreasing at a rate approaching 30% in 12.6 years (three generations) (BirdLife International 2015).

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Andorra N Extant Yes
Austria N Extant Yes
Bulgaria V Extant
Canada N Extant Yes Yes
China (mainland) N Extant Yes
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) I Extant Yes
Finland N Extant Yes
France N Extant Yes
Germany N Extant Yes
Greenland (to Denmark) N Extant Yes
Iceland N Extant Yes
Italy N Extant Yes
Japan N Extant Yes
Kazakhstan N Extant Yes
Liechtenstein N Extant Yes
Mongolia N Extant Yes
Norway N Extant Yes
Russia N Extant Yes
Russia (Asian) N Extant Yes
Russia (Central Asian) N Extant Yes
Russia (European) N Extant Yes
Slovenia N Extant Yes
Spain N Extant Yes
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway) N Extant Yes
Sweden N Extant Yes
Switzerland N Extant Yes
Tajikistan N Extant Yes
United Kingdom N Extant Yes
USA N Extant Yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Greenland (to Denmark) Eqalummiut Nunaat-Nassuttuup Nunaa
Greenland (to Denmark) Østersletten and Knudshoved, Hold With Hope
Sweden Lake Ånn – Storlien
Finland Kevo
Finland Värriö-Tuntsa
Finland Pallas and Ylläs fjelds
Finland Saariselkä and Koilliskaira
Finland Käsivarsi fjelds
Russia (European) Lapland Biosphere Reserve
Russia (European) Pechoro-Ilychski Nature Reserve
Spain Fresser-Setcases
Spain Cerdaña
Spain Alt Pallars
Spain San Mauricio-Bohí-Beret
Spain Posets-Maladeta
Spain Gistaín-Cotiella
Spain Ordesa-Bielsa
Spain Panticosa-Vignemale-Tendeñera
Spain Collarada-Telera
Spain Belagua-Ansó-Hecho
France Hautes Vallées d'Aspe et d'Ossau
France Haute Soule : massif de la Pierre-St-Martin.
France Vallée du Haut-Guil
France Rive Gauche de la Vallée d'Aspe et Pic d'Anie
France Pènes du Moulle de Jaut
France Massif du Canigou-Carança
France Puig Carlit et environs
France Vallées du Lis et de la Pique
France Cirque de Gavarnie
France Vallée de Melles, cols d'Aoueran et d'Artisagou et Mont Vallier
France Zones rupestres du Tarasconnais et massif d'Aston
France Parc National du Mercantour
France Parc National des Ecrins
France Parc National de la Vanoise
France Montagne des Frêtes et plateau des Glières
France Les Bauges
France Haut Giffre
United Kingdom Atholl/Glen Tilt
United Kingdom Beinn Dearg
United Kingdom Ben Alder
United Kingdom Ben Wyvis
United Kingdom Caenlochan
United Kingdom Cairngorms
United Kingdom Glen Affric to Strathconon
United Kingdom Creag Meagaidh
United Kingdom Drumochter Hills
United Kingdom Lochnagar
United Kingdom Monadhliath
Italy Adamello-Brenta
Italy Camonica valley
Italy Gran Paradiso
Italy Lessini and Pasubio mountains
Italy Tarvisio Forest
Italy Carniche Alps
Italy Antigorio and Formazza valleys
Italy Orobie Alps and pre-Alps
Italy Stelvio National Park
Italy Maritime Alps
Italy Belluno Dolomites
Italy Giulie Pre-Alps
Italy Mont Blanc (Italian side)
Italy Monte Rosa (Valle d'Aosta side)
Italy Dolomites
Greenland (to Denmark) South coast of Germania Land, and Slaedelandet
Austria Northern Kalkalpen
Austria Hohe Tauern National Park
Austria Niedere Tauern
Austria Nockberge National Park
Austria Kaisergebirge
Austria Silvretta and Verwall
Austria Hundsfeld
Sweden Vindel Mountains (including Lake Tärna)
Sweden Lake Tjålme – Valley of Lais
Sweden Tavvavouma
Germany Berchtesgaden National Park
Germany Karwendel and Karwendel foothills
Germany Ammergau mountains
Germany Mangfall mountains and Rotwand area
France Hauts Plateaux du Vercors et Forêt des Coulmes
Russia (Central Asian) East slope of the Northern Ural
Russia (Central Asian) Kuznetsky Alatau Zapovednik
Canada Bay du Nord Wilderness Reserve and Middle Ridge Wildlife Reserve
Canada Gros Morne National Park
Austria Ötscher-Dürrenstein
Italy Carniche pre-Alps
Italy Lagorai mountains
Austria Villacher Alpe-Dobratsch
Austria Karwendel
Austria Tyrolian Lech valley
Italy Rhaetian Alps
Kazakhstan Paradise Valley mountain plateau
Italy Val d'Ossola
Italy Monte Rosa (versante valdostano) ed Alta Val Sesia
Slovenia Grintovci
Slovenia Julijci
Finland Lätäseno and Jietajoki mires
Finland Maltio fjelds
Italy Susa and Chisone valleys
Germany High alps of Allgäu
Germany Eastern Chiemgau Alps
Germany Wetterstein mountain range
Slovenia Karavanke

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Grassland Tundra major resident
Altitude 2000 - 5000 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Climate change & severe weather Habitat shifting & alteration Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Whole (>90%) Unknown Unknown
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food - human - - Non-trivial Recent
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - International Non-trivial Recent
Sport hunting/specimen collecting - - Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Lagopus muta. Downloaded from on 08/12/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 08/12/2022.