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Thursday, 23 January 2014

Black Grouse - one of the BBC Winterwatch series stars: UK population data

Black Grouse (Tetrao Tetris)
Family - Tetraonidae
Photo taken from RSPB website



Avian Population Estimates Panel 
Data for GB/UK breeding population estimate 5,100 birds. This number was taken in 2005 although it is noted that the figure is unreliable due to large variation each year.
This bird is on the 'red list' for conservation status.

The website www.blackgrouse.info states:
"Survey data from 2005 shows that black grouse numbers have dropped by 29 per cent in 10 years in Scotland alone and by 22 per cent in 10 years in Britain as a whole. However, in northern England the populations are stable, and in Wales, thanks to intensive habitat management, the population has increased by 39 per cent."

And their map of Black grouse distribution during 1988-91, from Gibbons, D. W., Reid, J. B. and Chapman, R. A. (1993) The new atlas of breeding birds in Britain and Ireland 1988-91. Carlton, UK and A. D. Poyser.



European distribution map shows a broad spread of the population however local populations in non-UK countries are also in decline.
Map from LyRE: Life History Research in Ecology and Evolution 

http://blackgrouseresearch.jyu.fi/




There were some fantastic views on the show of the males displaying at the 'lek', trying to sort out their position in the breeding hierarchy. The cocks display by spreading their tails wide, showing off the white under-tail coverts, and inflating their red wattles (the 'comb' above each eye) while producing a very distinctive bubbling sound.

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