How to identify

The Capercaillie is a huge woodland grouse – the large black males are unmistakable. They spend a lot of time feeding on the ground, but may also be found in trees, eating shoots and buds. They breed in Scottish native pinewood, a rare and vulnerable habitat, and in commercial conifer tree plantations. The UK Capercaillie population has declined so rapidly that it is at very real risk of extinction (for the second time) and is a 'Red List' species.



Patrik Åberg / xeno-canto

⚠ Capercaillie are a rare and declining bird known to be highly sensitive to disturbance. Given the vulnerability of this species, and the recent decline, the advice is not to go looking for capercaillie. More information on this can be found here. 

A lone Capercaillie wandering through the woodland.
Male Capercaillie
Capercaillie biodiversity action plan
Together with private landowners, Scottish Government and corporate support, we are working hard to reverse capercaillie decline through conservation and advisory work.


  1. Resident
  2. Passage
  3. Summer
  4. Winter
* This map is intended as a guide. It shows general distribution rather than detailed, localised populations.
  1. Jan
  2. Feb
  3. Mar
  4. Apr
  5. May
  6. Jun
  7. Jul
  8. Aug
  9. Sep
  10. Oct
  11. Nov
  12. Dec

Key facts

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