[A female rock ptarmigan sits on her nest. The wind blows around her feathers and vegetation surrounding the nest. She flies away, revealing three eggs in the nest.] [Explore Macaulaylibrary.org]

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Bird parents work hard to protect their young, even before they hatch. For many birds, especially those that nest on the ground like Rock Ptarmigans, this means camouflage. Not only is the female cryptically colored to blend into the tundra environment, her nest and eggs also blend in almost invisibly. This provides excellent protection from visual predators while the female is away. These birds are well camouflaged all year and turn pure white in the snow-covered winter.

This video accompanies Chapter 11, Breeding Biology of Birds, Handbook of Bird Biology, 3rd Edition from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Wiley Publishing.

Recorded by Luke J Eberhart-Phillips, Macaulay Library