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RED GROUSE - Lagopus lagopus


The red grouse is an icon of Scottish heather moors. Careful management to boost grouse numbers for shooting since the late 1800s has made Scottish moors an international hotspot for this bird, now sought by shooting parties and birders alike.

No other bird in the world makes such major use of heather. A red grouse eats it, shelters, nests and rears young in it and typically doesn’t move far from its home heath in its lifetime. Patchwork effects on grouse moors show where controlled burning has been done to promote heather growth as grouse food and cover.

Red grouse are territorial, with males defending a patch of heathland and hoping to woo a single mate. There's a flurry of terrotorial action in autumn, as males make "song" flights and lay claim to their native heath. Territories are often abandoned in winter, when grouse group together in conveys, but in spring brings a new flush of action. 

Red grouse are year-round residents. Moorlands in Deeside and in the Borders are some of the best grouse habitat in Britain. But look also in many other places where you see the characteristic grouse moor patchwork effect.