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Black Grouse-5

Black Grouse-5

Black Grouse Tetrao tetrix

Despite its name this bird is actually quite colourful.

Each year (mostly in April and May) the males gather at the lek, a meeting place where each day the male cock birds strut, leap in the air and engage in brief spats with fellow cocks to try and assert their dominance and stake their place in the lek, with the more dominant birds in the centre.

The cocks will run at each other and rear up to appear bigger and stronger. It is mostly posturing but can be very aggressive at times. Not only is the lek an amazing visual experience but also a noisy one as the cocks make quite a racket, either cooing like doves or making a sort of wheezy hissing sound.

When the hen arrives at the lek the cocks go crazy leaping in the air and squaring up to each other, all to attract the attention of the female bird.

The female will visit several leks in search of a cock to mate with. The cocks play no part in the rearing of young birds.