Hazel Hen Bird Habitat
Mixed woods with thickets and groundcover of blueberries and cranberries are the home of the hazel hen. In central Europe, its distribution is somewhat local, but in northern Europe, and especially in Scandinavia, it is still plentiful. Its range extends eastward as far as central Asia. It is also known as Hazel Grouse.
The hazel hen does not leave its territory throughout its lifetime, keeping mostly to thickets and occasionally venturing into clearings, but always remaining close to a place of concealment to which it soon withdraws if danger threatens.
Bird Information & Facts
Length: Male — 36.5 cm, female — 34 cm. The female lacks the black throat and is not as brightly coloured as the male.
Voice: A whistling sound ‘tsissi-tseri-tsi. tsi, tsi, tsiu’.
Size of Egg: 36.1 — 45.4 x 27.0 — 30.7 mm.
Hazel Hen Breeding
In May or June the female hazel hen prepares the nest in a hollow beside a tree stump, in the heather at the base of a tree trunk, in a clump of grass or other well concealed spot, lining it with a thin layer of leaves or dry grass. The 7 to 10 eggs are incubated by the female hazel hen alone for a period of 21 to 25 days, hers being also the duty of rearing the young.
Soon after the down of the newly-hatched chicks has dried they follow in the wake of the hen, who guides them in search of food, which they can gather for themselves almost from the moment of birth until they are a few days old. When they are able to fly about and perch on branches for the night, the hen still shelters and protects them.
At first, they feed on insects, their larvae, worms and spiders, but they also eat green shoots and grass. Adults feed on seeds, berries, buds and plant shoots, and in early spring are fond of nibbling catkins. In some countries, especially in central Europe, it has become a rare species and is protected by law.