Red Grouse - Hebridean Birds
Western Isles Birds - The red grouse - seen in the Western Isles - a russet, hen-sized bird with a longish neck and short beak.

Males in full breeding finery have hot-red wattles above each eye. Red Grouse are different from other members of the grouse family with its reddish brown plumage and lack of a white winter coat.

It has a black tail and white legs, with white stripes on the underwing and a red comb over its eyes.
       
Red Grouse - Bird Sightings - Isle of Lewis - Western Isles
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Bird Overview - Red Grouse
Family
Grouse (Tetraonidae)
Latin name
Lagopus Lagopus

Population
Becoming Scarce


Similar Species
Black Grouse
Description
The red grouse - seen in the Western Isles - a russet, hen-sized bird with a longish neck and short beak. Males in full breeding finery have hot-red wattles above each eye.

It is different from other members of the grouse family with its reddish brown plumage and lack of a white winter coat. It has a black tail and white legs, with white stripes on the underwing and a red comb over its eyes. Females are not as red as the males and have fewer conspicuous combs. The young birds are duller without red combs.

It is the only game bird to have feathers on its legs and feet, which help protect it in the cold and snow.


Size
38 - 41 cm / 450g - 700g.
Habitat
Moorlands - Red grouse are sedentary birds, spending their entire lives in the same area. They are reluctant to fly, relying on their plumage as camouflage against the Heather. However when flushed, they explode into a strong, rapid flight low across the Heather..

Food
The diet of the red grouse comprises 95 per cent heather it also feeds to a smaller degree on, seeds, berries and insects.
Voice
These birds give a quick wooden-sounding 'kvak -kavak - kavak -kvarrr' and\ if disturbed at their nest you will hear 'kui-kui'

Breeding
The breeding season is from the beginning of April to the end of June. The nest is a shallow scrape under dense Heather . There will be 6-12 eggs. The chicks are able to feed themselves soon after hatching. They feed on insects for the first few weeks, and then change to the adult diet

Misc. Info
As with the purple-flowered shrub - hearther that has become its only home, the red grouse is an icon of Scotland's heather moors.

The red grouse really does put to good use the purple heather In the Western Isles these birds eat the heather, they use it for shelter. these lovely birds build nests in the heather and they use it to rear their young in the heather.

The red grouse - once thought to be the only endemic British species of bird - i snow considered to be a race of the widespread Willow grouse. The red grouse - though dies not moult into the all white plumage like the Willow Grouse does. This bird is actually the most prized of all the game birds and is much sought after when the shooting season begins on the 'glorious twelfth' of August.

It is estimated that half a million grouse are shot each year between Aug and December



One if the differences between grouse and chickens is that grouse have feathers on their feet - chickens don't

Americans call wild grouse "prairie chicken"

Male grouse compete in a display known as "lekking" to win the attention of females.


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