Newfoundland: Ptarmigan
Newfoundland SG 74 issued in 1897
Newfoundland SG 74 issued in 1897

A correspondent from Canada pointed out that other catalogues list the birds on this stamp as Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus), and asked why I listed it as Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus muta).

When I first collected a used copy of this stamp in the early days of my collection, in the UK, "Ptarmigan" = "Lagopus mutus", so that was the species I registered in my database for this stamp. "Lagopus lagopus" was known as "Red Grouse". Åke Eliasson's book published in 1975 agreed with my choice, and as my web site did not exist then, I did not influence him.

This stamp commemorates the 400th anniversary of the discovery of Newfoundland by John Cabot. Wikipedia on its page for Rock Ptarmigan states that it is the official game bird of Newfoundland. As the stamp also has the inscription "NEWFOUNDLAND SPORT", it seems likely that the designer would have used the national game bird. However, the image is not very clear, and the fact that there appears to be a small bush or tree on the left of the scene could indicate the the habitat is more appropriate for Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus).

I'm happy to leave this as Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus muta) but do understand why others may differ.

Added 6 February, 2013