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Conservation status: Red

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.

Illustrations

Overview

Latin name

Tetrao tetrix

Family

Grouse (Tetraonidae)

Where to see them

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.

When to see them

All year round

What they eat

Buds, shoots, catkins and berries

Population

EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
2,500,000-3,200,000 pairs<5,100 males--

Distribution

Key

In the UK
Scotland, N England and Wales
In Europe
N Scandinavia south to the Alps
Worldwide
Europe and Asia