A pair of Black Grouse (Lyrurus tetrix) during the lekking season, taken at dawn near Aviemore, Scottish Highlands last Tuesday. Driving horizontal rain and gale force winds blowing head-on into the lens made this a challenging operation! The stormy rainclouds raced across the sky, breaking up to reveal short clear periods which produced interesting light and saturated colours. The most striking feature of this gamebird is the lyre-shaped tail, visible when displaying.
The all-black males have distinctive red wattle over the eye and show a striking white stripe along each wing in flight. They have a lyre-shaped tail which is fanned out and raised to show white under-tail feathers when displaying. The smaller grey-brown females have a slightly notched tail. Habitat loss and overgrazing have resulted in severe population declines which make this a Red List species. Positive habitat management is helping them to increase in some areas.
Found in upland areas of Wales, the Pennines and most of Scotland. Best looked for on farmland and moorland with nearby forestry or scattered trees. They have traditional 'lek' sites where the males display. Can be seen all year round. They feed on buds, shoots, catkins and berries.
Description taken from the RSPB website
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Wildlife and nature
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