Red Grouse

Lagopus lagopus

About

The red grouse is a plump gamebird about the same size and shape as a artridge. It feeds on heather and can be found on upland heathlands and moorland; it's often spotted as it's flushed from the heather, suddenly flying upwards with rapid, whirring wing-beats. There are actually two subspecies of red grouse: Lagopus lagopus scotia (the red grouse of the British Isles) and Lagopus lagopus lagopus (the willow grouse of Scandinavia and Alaska).

How to identify

Unmistakeable: red grouse are entirely rich gingery-brown in colour with a black tail and red eyebrows.

Where to find it

Lives on heather moorlands in North and South West England, Wales and Scotland.

Habitats

When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Red grouse populations are in decline due to the loss of their natural, heathland habitats: over the last 50 years up to 40% of heather moorland has been lost to commercial forestry and overgrazing. The Wildlife Trusts are working to restore and protect our heaths by promoting good management, clearing encroaching scrub and implementing beneficial grazing regimes. This work is vital if our heathland habitats are to survive; you can help by supporting your local Wildlife Trust and becoming a member or volunteer.

Species information

Common name
Red Grouse
Latin name
Lagopus lagopus
Category
Birds
Gamebirds
Statistics
Length: 40-43cm Wingspan:60cm Weight: 600g
Conservation status
Classified in the UK as an Amber List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review and as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.