How to make black grouse

Black grouse

Tetrao tetrix

The black grouse was once a widespread breeding bird at altitudes between 1500 and 2200 meters. Today the populations in large parts of the country are severely threatened or extinct due to various factors such as tourism. The very distinctive appearance of the male makes it almost unmistakable. It bears a certain resemblance to the capercaillie, but it is larger. You can often hear the courting roosters from a distance.

Black Grouse Rooster - Photo: Christoph Bosch

During the courtship season, the males put on a spectacle for hours to defend their territory in the arena.

  • 40-55 cm tall
  • to be observed all year round
  • early morning meetings in Balzarena
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The male is much more conspicuous than the female. The body plumage of the male is predominantly black-brown with a partly metallic blue sheen. There is a white stripe on the wing. The underside of the tail is white, and parts of the skin are bright red over the eyes. The female, on the other hand, is slightly smaller and brown with strong black-brown banding. It also has a white stripe on the wing.

During the breeding season, the males come together in the early hours of the morning in mating arenas and defend their territories there with imposing threatening postures and rolling and hissing calls. The females then choose the males who put on the most impressive show. The hens raise the young on their own.

The black grouse lives in semi-open, structurally rich landscapes of the subalpine and alpine levels or in moorlands at lower altitudes, where it is often almost extinct. Structured areas with shrubs, conifers and deciduous trees are preferred habitats for the black grouse.

The black grouse is considered to be threatened with extinction in Germany, for example due to the destruction of upland and fens through peat and drainage. There is a hybridization with capercaillie and female pheasant.

The black grouse stays in its habitat all year round.

It feeds mainly on buds, berries, roots, leaves and other plant components. When these become scarce, larvae and insects are eaten, which also play an important role in rearing young.

During courtship, rolling and hissing can be heard from the male.

Often you cannot see them, but you can still hear them far away when the roosters are making their courtship calls in the early hours of the morning.

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