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Scottish Red Grouse
Lagopus lagopus scotica
Other Name: Moorcock, Moorbird, Moorfowl
The Scottish Red Grouse is a comical and beautiful example of grouse hailing from Great Britain and Ireland. This is a bird you will want to have in your aviary for entertainment and awe factors alike. They have up to 16 different calls with the most recognizable being a call that sounds like the grouse is calling “ Go Back! Go Back!” or “Uh Oh! Uh Oh!” followed by a chuckle.
Red Grouse are identified by their plumage being reddish-brown, and not having a white winter plumage. The species found in Ireland are a bit lighter in color, said to be due to the need to camouflage themselves in the tall grass of the moores instead of the Heather fields. They are widespread in Scotland, only missing in the urban areas. The tail is black and the legs are white. There are white stripes on the underwing and red “eyebrows” over their eyes. Females are less reddish than males and have smaller combs. The young Red Grouse, like most bird species, are duller in color and have not yet developed their combs.
Scottish Red Grouse begin to form pairs in Autumn and males become increasingly territorial throughout the Winter. In the Spring, a clutch of six to nine eggs are laid, mainly throughout April and May. The eggs will be pale yellow with dark brown blotches and will incubate anywhere from 19-25 days before hatch. Red Grouse chicks can fly by 2 weeks old and are fully grown at about a month old!
Fun Fact: The Scottish Red Grouse may be familiar as the logo a very popular beverage in Scotland.
True of all Grouse populations, the Red Grouse will display periodic population cycling, where the population builds up to very high densities only to crash a few years later, and then recover.