Black Grouse - Tetrao tetrix

Black Grouse - Tetrao tetrix - Moorland and Upland
Canon 800mm f7.1 for 1/640th @ iso400

Black grouse, Blackcock or Blackgame is a large black bird a member of the Grouse family.

Black grouse are well known for the their breeding displays.

At dawn in spring, dozens of males gather on the same display grounds - these grounds are known as the "lek".

In the early morning the distinctive sound of the birds drowns out all other sounds - almost a continuous "burbling" noise. When it stops the silence at the lek is tangible.

When the males face off to each other - tails are fanned and if one bird does not back down then what ensues is a series of dramatic skirmishes - like boxers weighing each other up they move backwards and forwards until the point they lock together in a tangle of feathers and feet flying they each seek to be the dominant bird - for such a large bird they are extremely agile.