Tetraonidae - Grouse
The grouse are plump, rounded gamebirds. They are typical of northern latitudes - favouring the Arctic tundra, mountain tops and boreal forest. Their extremely dense plumage keeps them warm; a necessity as none are migratory, so they have to endure the cold northern winter. Some species, such as the Ptarmigan, even change the colour of their plumage with the seasons - speckled brown or grey in summer, white in winter. As with other gamebirds, grouse are polygynous and males will gather in congregations known as leks, where their exuberant displays are aimed at persuading as many females as possible to mate with them. A few males will succeed in getting most of the mating opportunities.
Four species of grouse occur in Britain, the Red Grouse is a bird of northern hills, though it is perhaps now more famous for advertising a brand of whisky!
Regularly Occurring Species
Too wet to nest?
A common issue that many analysts of biological data encounter is that of detectability. For a human population we can (in principle) count every individual. For wildlife though, things are trickier, and only rarely is...
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