Nutritional Food Fact Sheet Series

Ptarmigan and Grouse

View PDF version here.

Ptarmigan live year round in the North. Their feathers change with the season – white when there is snow and darker in the summer.  Ptarmigan are generally an easy bird to hunt and provide nutrient-rich meat.  Northerners like to store them in the freezer for year round use.

What do we know about ptarmigan and grouse?

Ptarmigan meat is rich and dark and has much more iron than chicken meat.  Ptarmigan is usually eaten baked, fried, boiled, or in soups. The parts of the ptarmigan that are eaten most are the meat, heart, gizzards and liver. 

Nutrients found in ptarmigan and grouse

Nutrients Contents per Serving Ptarmigan meat,
cooked (75 g)
Grouse meat,
cooked (75 g)
An excellent food source means it supplies 25% or more of a nutrient per day

Very high Iron

A good source supplies 15 - 24% of a nutrient per day   Iron
A fair source supplies 5 - 14% of a nutrient per day

Omega-6 fats
Vitamin A

  • Reference Serving Sizes are from Canada’s Food Guide (dried = 35g, cooked = 75g, raw = 90g).
  • The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) amounts are based on the needs of a 14 – 18 year old girl.
  • Excellent, good and fair sources of nutrients have been standardized for any type of food source.

Did you know?

  • Ptarmigan and grouse meat are excellent sources of protein.  Protein keeps us healthy by building and repairing our muscles, skin and blood as well as helping us fight sickness.
  • Ptarmigan meat is an excellent source of iron.  One serving provides 50% of the iron we need in a day.  Grouse meat has less iron than ptarmigan but is still a good source.  Iron helps make healthy blood that flows through our bodies giving us energy and making us grow and keeps us from getting tired.
  • Ptarmigan meat is fair source of vitamin A. Vitamin A is needed for healthy skin, bones and eyes. It also helps keeps our bodies healthy.

Prepare Foods Safely

  • Use safe food handling practices – wash your hands and equipment.
  • Eat meat only when properly cooked, dried, or aged.
  • To store meat, use only clean containers or bags made for FOOD storage.
  • To prevent the spread of bacteria such as Salmonella, wash hands after working with raw meat and before handling cooked meat. The bacteria Salmonella is often found in birds.

Storage Tips

Meat How to Store Refrigerator Freezer
Raw Store Separately 1 – 2 days 4 – 12 months
Cooked Store separately from raw Reheat cooked meat only once/ keep for 3 days 1 - 3 months

Healthy Eating

Prepare foods in traditional ways to avoid too much added sugar, fat and salt.  Aging, drying, or roasting are healthy ways to prepare wild birds.  For a healthy meal, try ptarmigan soup with rice and carrots. Have fruit (frozen or canned when fresh is not in season) and water with your meal.

Hunting and fishing for a healthy lifestyle

Getting out on the land is part of our northern way of life. It is great to be active. Hunting, fishing, gathering, and eating traditional foods helps keep us healthy.

For more information contact:

  • Community Health Representatives
  • Registered Dietitians
  • Band Office and Local Elders
  • Territorial Nutritionist, Department of Health and Social Services