976. Black Grouse.
Tetrao tetrix, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 274 (1766) : Naum. vi. p. 324, Taf. 157 ; Gould, B. of E. iv. pl. 250 ; id. B. of Gt. Brit. iv. pl. 6 ; Hewitson, i. p. 278, pl. lxix. fig. 1 ; Dresser, vii. p. 205, pl. 487 ; (Elliot), Monogr. Tetr. pl. xii. ; (Ogilvie Grant), Cat. B. Br. Mus. xxii. p. 53 ; Tacz. F. O. Sib. O. p. 766 ; Saunders, p. 493 ; Lilford, iv. p. 106, pl. 45.
Coq de bruyere, French ; Pequeno ; Gallo de bosque, Span. ; Fagiano di monte, Ital. ; Birkhahn male, Birkhuhn female, German ; Berkhoen, Dutch ; Urfugl, Dan. ; Aarfugl, Norweg. ; Orre, Swed. ; Teiri, Tetri, Finn. ; Tetereff male Kosach female, Russ.
Male ad. (Sweden). General colour black, glossed with blue on the head, neck, and upper parts ; secondaries and larger wing-coverts white on the basal portion, forming a conspicuous alar patch ; outer tail-feathers elongated and curved outwards ; lower abdomen and thighs varied with greyish white ; under wing- and tail-coverts white ; over the eye a large red warty comb ; bill black ; feet and iris dark brown. Culmen 1.1, wing 10.4, tail in the middle 4.2, outer feathers 8.5, tarsus 1.8 inch. Female : upper parts rich rufous tinged with grey, the feathers banded or marked with black, the secondaries at the base and tip white, forming two indistinct alar bars ; tail forked ; breast more rufous and less marked with black than the other parts ; middle of abdomen and legs greyish white, the latter indistinctly marked with dull brown ; under tail- and wing-coverts white barred with brown and black.
Hab. Europe, from about lat. 67° in Scandinavia south to North Italy and Styria ; west to Great Britain ; Asia, east to Eastern Siberia, north to 67° N. lat. on the Yenesei, south to Turkestan, Manchuria, and, it is said, to North China. Like the Capercailly the Black Grouse is an inhabitant of the forest and woodland, but in Scotland it is found on the moors, and is as a rule shy and and wary. It feeds on tender twigs, berries, seeds, &c., and is more of a ground bird than T. urogallus. In the spring it frequents a “lek” or drumming place, where the males fight for the possession of the females, and it is almost always held on the ground, in an open place in the forest, or a tree-surrounded morass, for this species is also polygamous. The call-note is loud and clear, and can be heard at a long distance. The “ lek ” lasts about 8 to 14 days, after which the females retire to their breeding places. The nest is a depression in the ground, sometimes scantily lined with grass or leaves, and the eggs, 6 to 10 or 12 in number, which are usually deposited in May, are yellowish white spotted and blotched with yellowish red and rusty red, and measure about 2.0 by 1.42.
The Black Grouse not unfrequently interbreeds with other species, and wild hybrids have been obtained between it and Tetrao urogallus, Lagopus albus, L. scoticus, Tetrastes bonasia, and Phasianus colchicus.
976. Tetrao tetrix
976. Black Grouse.