Rock Ptarmigan

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Rock Ptarmigan

Rock PtarmiganOriginal.png

Rock PtarmiganOldDesign.png

Character Data
Japanese Name: ライチョウ
Romanised Name: Raichō
First Featured in: Kemono Friends (2015 Game)
Animal Data
Scientific Name: Lagopus muta
Distribution: Northern hemisphere, various areas
Diet: Omnivore
Average Lifespan in the Wild: 4 years
Read More: Rock ptarmigan
Conservation Status: Status iucn3.1 LC.svg.png
Rock Ptarmigan Nexon Game

Rock Ptarmigan is a type of Friend that appeared in the original Kemono Friends mobile game. Her redesign was revealed for a collabration with Nasu Animal Kingdom in Tochigi prefecture.

Appearance

Rock Ptarmigan has white hair that is slightly bobbed at the behind, with sharp baings at the middle to represent the beak - the white hair fades into black there. At the top of her hair are 5 black spots, patterns that can be seen in a real rock ptarmigan.

She has a white furred collar with a blue ribbon that gets larger at the behind, a sweater with fur at the end of the sleeves, a blue skirt, white furred bloomers, white socks with large leg warmers of the same color, and white flats that fade into black at the end.

Like all Friends, she has traits of the species she originated from on her body. In her case, that's the tail of a rock ptarmigan, and like all avian friends, wings of a rock ptarmigan on her head.

In Real Life

The rock ptarmigan, known simply as the "ptarmigan" in English-speaking north America and Europe, is a widely-distributed sedentary gamebird native to many mountainous and colder areas in the northern hemisphere. Its plumage is a seasonal camouflage, staying snow white in winter and molting to a grayish brown in the spring and summer. Although its habitats vary heavily as a result of its wide distribution, the rock ptarmigan prefers high elevations in more barren areas.

Ptarmigans are identifiable by the "croaking" birdsong of males of the species, after which they were named; "ptarmigan" comes from Scottish Gaelic tàrmachan, meaning "croaker". Male rock ptarmigans are distinguished from their female counterparts by their combs, which are used in both courtship displays and aggressive gestures towards other males. Research has suggested that testosterone levels (and thereby aggression) are correlated with the size of the male's comb.

A pair of rock ptarmigans in their winter plumage.

Rock ptarmigans have a high rate of reproduction and reach sexual maturity as early as six months of age, which easily sustains their population even in regions where their rate of mortality is comparably high. Moreover, their natural predators are often few and far between, varying between regions, due to the inaccessible and inhospitable habitats they choose to make their homes. These birds typically feed on local buds, seeds and berries, but are opportunistic feeders that are quick to change their diet with the seasons, feasting on insects and other plants as well.

They are approachable animals that are hunted in many countries without protection from local or national governments, being a favorite target of small game hunters. In areas with particularly harsh climates, the survival rate of chicks can be disastrously low on average. In spite of these threats, however, rock ptarmigans are a hardy species that can fight back their circumstances thanks to the vitality afforded by their high birthrates. The IUCN lists it as "Least Concern".

Trivia

  • The Japanese name for the rock ptarmigan is "raichō", meaning "thunder bird". They are a protected species nationwide and the official bird of the Gifu, Nagano and Toyama prefectures.
  • Rock ptarmigan meat is popular in Icelandic festive cuisine, but due to its declining population, hunting of the bird is restricted to certain days of the year, which are revised on an annual basis.
  • The original Friend design of Rock Ptarmigan appears to have been based on the species's winter plumage, while the redesign reflects its summer molt.

References

"Rock Ptarmigan" (On-line), Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Accessed January 25, 2019 at http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=rockptarmigan.printerfriendly

BirdLife International. 2016. Lagopus muta (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22679464A113623562. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22679464A89358137.en. Downloaded on 25 January 2019.

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