RoyW's picture

Moorland Grouse.

Observed: 20th May 2010 By: RoyW
British Dragonfly SocietyLondon Natural History Society
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Red-Grouse.jpg
Description:

Male Red Grouse.

Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Comments

Kluut's picture

Habitat

Red grouse (the UK sub-species of willow ptarmigan), are all restricted to moorland and are the only UK grouse to be so - they are highly adapted to feeding on heather shoots, and to a lesser extent, willow and cotton grass.
The "eyebrows" are correctly called combs. They are erected and only visible to any significant extent when the bird is excited or stressed and especially so when they are territorial.

RoyW's picture

Combs.

Combs is of course correct (thanks for that!).
There were several of these on the moorland up above the valley alongside a narrow road. Unsurprisingly, considering the time of year, most seemed to be in territorial pairs. A few lone males probably had mates hidden nearby.

Kluut's picture

Unpaired males

Unpaired males are normal in red grouse/willow ptarmigan populations because of poorer survival of hens, but is especially so in UK red grouse populations where it is a complicated result of poor soils and over-grazing producing poor winter feeding. Especially given the weather this year, it is also probably a little too early for many hens to be sitting yet.