Name: the black grouse (Lyrurus tetrix) – or northern black grouse, Eurasian black grouse, blackgame, or blackcock – is a large gamebird in the grouse family.
Appearance: males are mostly black with a deep blue colour on their necks and distinctive bright red eyebrows. Females, by contrast, are a mottled brown to help them blend in with the undergrowth. Their tail feathers curl outwards in the shape of a Greek lyre – giving them the Latin name Lyrurus.
Size: black grouse are relatively large gamebirds, measuring around 60 cm long and weighing up to 1.3 kg.
Diet: in spring and summer they are found in open moorlands where they eat berries and shoots. Whereas in winter, they take shelter in dense forests feeding almost entirely on the needles of conifers.
Did you know: black grouse are famous for their elaborate courtship rituals. Every dawn in spring, males gather at ‘leks’ where they compete to attract a mate. They show off their strength and vigour by fanning their elaborate tail feathers, inflating their necks, and singing long, bubbling songs. The waiting females choose their mates based on the most impressive displays.
Location: they are found in a range of habitats across Eurasia, often in mixed areas of heathland, grassland, and forest.
Where to see black grouse
According to reports submitted to WildSide, you can see black grouse in the following places:
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Photo credit: JayneAS under a Creative Commons licence from Pixabay