Watching black grouse
- Black grouse lek for much of the year, the key period being April and May.
- Watch leks and feeding birds from a vehicle. Black grouse pay little attention to stationary vehicles that are at least 100 metres away. Ensure that you do not block access or disturb nearby residents. Avoid approaching a lek on foot, which usually disturbs the birds.
- Arrive at leks before daybreak. A vehicle stopping once it is light can disturb the birds. Stay in your vehicle and watch quietly through binoculars and telescopes. Get the flask of coffee from the boot before your vigil. Don't start the engine until after lekking has wound down, usually about two hours after dawn. Alternatively, consider watching a lek in the evening.
- Keep to footpaths, especially between May and August, when there may be nesting females and young birds present.
- Keep dogs under control (on a lead) when close to black grouse habitat and do not bring dogs into the field when you are watching grouse.
- The RSPB and Forest Enterprise have organised opportunities to watch black grouse in north Wales. Visit our Aren't Birds Brilliant! pages to find out when.
How you can help
Black grouse numbers are declining across Europe, but in England and Wales, the decline has been reversed. Find out how, and what the future may hold for these fabulous birds.
Conserving black grouse