Black Grouse Bird Habitat
The black grouse inhabits northern, eastern and central Europe, nesting also in England. It is most abundant in the arctic tundra, but occurs also in marshland with birch trees, light deciduous and mixed woods, as well as in mountain areas and among peat bogs. It visits also meadows and fields near woods, or forest clearings, where it performs its courtship display in the spring.
As many as a hundred black grouse cocks will arrive at the courting grounds before sunrise, where they perform all sorts of antics, hopping about, drooping their wings and uttering burbling sounds. It terminates when they leap up and attack one another with their beaks, though only rarely inflicting serious wounds. As dawn breaks the hens arrive on the scene and then fly off with their chosen partners, one cock being accompanied by several hens.
Black Grouse Bird Information & Facts
Length: Male — 61.5 cm, female – 42 cm
Weight: Male: 1.5 kg., female: up to 1 kg. Marked sexual dimorphism.
Voice: The male utters a sound resembling ‘tchu-shwee’ and a whistling sound when he takes to the air, the female’s call is a loud ‘kok-kok’.
Size of Egg: 46.0—56.3 X 33.4—38.5 mm.
Black Grouse Breeding
From the middle of May till June the Black Grouse hen scrapes a simple hollow in the ground, which she lines with leaves or grass before laying 7 to 12 eggs. These are incubated for 25 to 28 days by the hen, the cock showing no further interest in the fate of his family. When the young black grouse hatch, the hen guides them in search of food and also protects them. The chicks, spotted yellow-black, grow very fast and by the end of October are almost the size of adult birds.
The diet consists of insects, worms, molluscs, seeds, berries, plant shoots and grass. The black grouse is a game bird, the cocks being shot during the courtship display. The male’s lyre-shaped tail is the prized trophy of a fortune hunter.