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Of all the world’s birds, the rock ptarmigan is probably the hardiest. It is the only species that never retreats from the tundra, either on mountains or in the Arctic.


However cold you might be, the ptarmigan will be somewhere chillier. Its range reaches deep into the Arctic Circle, even in winter, and it breeds as far north as any other bird. It has a number of adaptations to assist in its extreme lifestyle.


Its feet are densely and permanently feathered, not just to reduce heat loss from bare areas, but also to help the bird walk in the snow – the feathering increases the foot surface area by a factor of four and makes excellent snow shoes.


The rest of the feathers are fluffy at the base (fluffier in winter) to give more effective insulation. In extreme conditions birds will dig snow holes for shelter. They are also somewhat sluggish and eat a vegetarian diet, which is nutritious but doesn’t raise their metabolic rate unduly high.

Rock ptarmigan is a sedentary bird that stays on the area it has once selected for its living ground. To survive in high arctic conditions it must know every square meter of its territory. It rarely travels distances exceeding couple of kilometers, except in the extreme northernmost breeding grounds in Arctic Canada and Greenland where the birds move southern areas for wintering. 

This tuff little bird brilliantly describes many of the visions and qualities of our company Giron Consulting, a few examples:

  • Like giron that is an extreme example of sedentary bird, we are locally based and know our environs and stakeholders thoroughly. However we do travel for our Client's convenience.

  • Fortunately we have been able to accommodate ourselves with more comfortable living conditions but similar to giron we get along in extremely challenging permit and operating environments

  • Typically girons live in flocks during harsh wintertime although they are quite independent during other seasons. We operate independently but if need be our professional network is available for maximal support of Client needs.

  • Camouflage of girons is next to perfect. Similarly we operate as part of Client team and have no ambition to advertise or brand ourselves like some bigger consultancies.


  • Especially in winter plumage the girons are simply beautiful birds, being mostly white with spice of black. This reminds us about the complexity of nature, society and needs of mankind, including mines and commodities. Matters are not simply black or white, but both of them and everything in between. Like giron summer plumage. 

  • girons can be amazingly tame and trustful. Similarly we see that mutual trust is maybe the most important item in all professional and stakeholder interaction. Without trust there is nothing to build on. Mining is a topic that easily polarizes people's opinion. We do our best to increase the trust between all associated parties.


  • Swedish city and mine of Kiruna (Giron) illustrate how mining and surrounding society may co-exist at best. This may not be possible everywhere but it is a good goal to be envisaged in any project, inspiring us in our work.

  • City of Rovaniemi has a district called Kiiruna (Giron). The name stemming from the houses built with the money donated by the Swedish during the second World War. We are located in the outskirts of this area.

  • In case you didn't guess yet, we enjoy birdwatching as well as many other outdoor activities in the nature.

Name also: Rock Ptarmigan, Snow Chicken, Partridge, Giron

Family: Pheasants and partridges – Phasianidae

Subfamily: Grouse – Tetraoninae

Appearance: In summer greyish with white wings. In winter plumage almost totally white, though males have short dark facial stripes between their eyes and beak.

Size: Length: 33–38 cm, wingspan 54–60 cm, weight 450–600 g.

Nest: In a shallow depression on open rocky ground, lined with a few feathers.


Breeding: Usually 7–11 eggs laid in May–June and incubated by female for 21–26 days. Fledglings learn to fly within 5–15 days.

Distribution: Arctic bird with a circumpolar distribution. On rocky and sparsely vegetated ground on arctic fells. In Finland only found on the highest fells in Northern Lapland. Finnish population estimated at 4,000–9,000 pairs.

Migration: Sedentary, remaining on the high fells even in extreme conditions.

Diet: The buds, shoots and leaves of various arctic upland plants. Fledglings initially feed on insects, but soon shift to a herbivorous diet.

Calls: Courtship call similar to call of Garganey, a four-syllable croaking sound. Squeaks.

Endangerment: Least concern, protected. Also globally Least concern. Like other members of the same subfamily Ptarmigans may be hunted as game birds in Finland during the season. In northernmost Finnish Lapland Ptarmigans and Willow Grouse may still be trapped using traditional snares.

Ptarmigans are monogamous. They are slightly smaller than the similar Willow Grouse.


They change their plumage seasonally. Males have four different plumages and females three. In their summer plumage Ptarmigans are greyer than Willow Grouse. In winter, like the Willow Grouse, they are almost totally white, except for their dark outermost tail feathers, and a dark facial stripe on males between their eyes and beak.

Ptarmigans’ beaks are black, and smaller than the beak of the Willow Grouse. Their irises are dark brown and their legs are covered with feathers. (





Giron in various languages:

Chinese: 岩雷鸟

Chinese (Traditional): 岩雷鳥

Danish: Fjeldrype

Davvisámegiella or nothern Sami: Giron

Dutch: Alpensneeuwhoen

English: Rock Ptarmigan
Estonia: Lumepüü

Finnish: Kiiruna

French: Lagopède alpin

German: Alpenschneehuhn
Greenlandic: Aqisseq (rype)

Icelandic: Rjúpa

Inuktitut: Aqiggiq or ᐊᕐᑭᒡᒋᖅ ᐊᑕᔪᓕᒃ

Italy: Pernice bianca

Japanese: Raichō or ライチョウ
LithuanianTundrinė žvyrė

Norwegian: Fjellrype

Portuguese: Lagópode-branco

Russian: Тундряная куропатка

Spanish: Lagópodo Alpino
Swedish: Fjällripa

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