Black Grouse

Scientific name: Tetrao tetrix

Did you know: Black Grouse, known for their unique courtship displays, were once a common sight across the UK, but are now considered a rare and Red List species due to habitat changes.

What Do Black Grouse Look Like? (how to identify them)

Black Grouse are striking birds, with males showcasing an all-black plumage, contrasted by a distinctive red wattle above the eye and a white stripe along each wing in flight. Their notable feature is the lyre-shaped tail, which they fan out to display white under-tail feathers during courtship rituals. 

Females, smaller in size, don a grey-brown plumage with a slightly notched tail, blending seamlessly into their natural habitat.

Differences Between Male And Female Black Grouse

Males are predominantly black with eye-catching white wing bars and red wattles above their eyes. 

In contrast, females are grey-brown with a pattern of black barring, offering them excellent camouflage in the wild.

What Do Black Grouse Eat?

Black Grouse primarily feed on shoots, catkins, buds, and berries, changing their diet seasonally to adapt to the available food sources in their habitat.

Where Do Black Grouse Live? (inc. migration info)

Black Grouse are sedentary birds found in the upland areas of Wales, the Pennines, and most of Scotland. 

They favour habitats like woodland and upland, adapting their location seasonally. During winters, they are commonly found in dense forests to feed on conifer needles, while in spring and summer, they inhabit open spaces for mating and rearing their young.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Black Grouse)

Black Grouse males are known for their distinctive cooing and bubbling sounds, especially during the dawn chorus in spring. 

These vocalisations are an integral part of their courtship displays at lekking sites.

Fun Black Grouse Facts (kid friendly)

  • Male Black Grouse perform a fascinating dance to attract females, fanning their tail feathers and strutting around.
  • Males have a unique red wattle above their eyes and a beautiful white stripe on their wings.
  • Female Black Grouse blend perfectly with their surroundings, thanks to their grey-brown feathers.
  • They enjoy a diet of buds, berries, and shoots, depending on the season.
  • These birds love the upland moors and woodlands, making them a special sight in these habitats.
  • Once common, they are now a rare sight, making each encounter with them even more special.

Black Grouse Images

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Male
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Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
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Fledgling
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Juvenile

Facts About The Black Grouse

Diet: Buds, shoots, catkins and berries.
Bird Family: Grouse
Length: 40-55cm
Wingspan: 65-80cm
Weight: 1.2kg (male), 930g (female)
Scientific Name: Tetrao tetrix

The Black Grouse Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December