Following the launch of Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park Authority's Wild Park 2020 Challenge and their strategy for conserving wildlife in the park, we look at the Black Grouse, one of their five chosen challenges.
Because it’s such a beautiful and enigmatic bird and a great indicator of healthy habitats, good for other species too, the black grouse is a priority species in the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park.
In spring, the black grouse is up at dawn to sing and dance hoping to attract a mate. The name given to this mating ritual and the area in which the birds display is the lek. You can also see male birds dancing and scrapping in the autumn for no apparent reason as females avoid the leks at this time of year.
Black grouse are threatened in the National Park due to loss of habitat, climate change, predators such as crows and foxes and birds colliding with deer fences. The survival rate of black grouse chicks is down due to wetter springs and summers in recent years.
The all-black males have distinctive red wattle over the eye and show a striking white stripe along each wing in flight. They have a lyre-shaped tail which is fanned out and raised to show white under-tail feathers when displaying. The smaller grey-brown females have a slightly notched tail.
Habitat loss and overgrazing have resulted in severe population loss which make this a Red List species.
The Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park Authority are committed to protecting the Black Grouse. Positive habitat management is helping them to increase.
In the National Park, you can find Black Grouse in the Great Trossachs Forest and other upland glens and moorlands where the trees thin out and the heather begins.
If you have any questions about Wild Park 2020, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01389 722600