Arctic chicken

Svalbard Ptarmigan

Almost all birds on Spitsbergen leave the area in winter. For good reason as it’s cold and dark there in that time. The only birds that stay are the Spitsbergen Ptarmigan, a distinct subspecies of the Ptarmigan. They move around a little, going to the higher windswept ridges where some vegetation aren’t snow-covered in winter. Here they manage to find enough food to survive winter. To survive the cold temperatures they have an extra layer of feathers and feathered feet. Even with this adaptations I have great respect for these small animals facing some hard times next winter.

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.

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