Willow Ptarmigan, Lagopus lagopus
The Willow Ptarmigan is all-white in winter, and the female is brown with white flight feathers in full breeding plumage. The breeding male has a rich rufous head and neck, and the red bare skin patch over the eye, and retains white on the underparts as well as the flight feathers. All the birds of the species we saw were males, and all were in the intermediate plumage shown here, with the breeding head and neck, but the upperparts still mostly white; we saw many male Willow Ptarmigans along the roads north and west of Nome. Birds of this species nest near stunted willows, which are widespread in the Nome area, and characteristic of arctic tundra near the tree line.