Saturday, 15 August 2009

Willow Grouse (Lagopus lagopus)

Adult female Willow Grouse (subspecies L. l. scotia - the Red Grouseat the Cheviot Hills, Northumbria - July 2009

OTHER NAMES: Willow Ptarmigan
Featured Subspecies: Lagopus lagopus scotia (the Red Grouse)
Weight: 430-810g
Length: 35-44cm
Wingspan: 60-65cm
UK AMBER LIST / IUCN Red List: Least Concern

The Red Grouse is the British race of the willow grouse, and is strongly associated with upland moors and heath., In some ways it is a species which through no fault of it's own causes a lot of hassle for others. The Hen Harrier particularly suffers because gamekeepers protecting this species see it as a threat to their livelihood, with illegal shootings and poisons being an enormous problem for those birds. That being said, the Red Grouse remains by far the most common and easily seen of the grouse and a good days walking in suitable hills where it lives should yield some results a few times. There has been long standing discussion about whether the Red Grouse is a separate species in it's own right (among other differences, it has no white winter phase) but it doesn't seem to be going anywhere.

Related Species:
Order: Galliformes
Family: Phasianidae
Genus: Lagopus
Subspecies: L. l. scotica, L. l. variegata, L. l. lagopus, L. l. rossica, L. l. birulai, L. l. koreni, L. l. kamtschatkensis, L. l. maior, L. l. brevirostris, L. l. kozlowae, L. l. sserebrowsky, L. l. okadai, L. l. muriei, L. l. alexandrae, L. l. alascensis, L. l. leucoptera, L. l. alba, L. l. ungavus, L. l. alleni         

- Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - A locally fairly common resident,population artificially high due to releases for shooting (230,000 pairs)
 - Birds seen near Keswick and in the Cheviots

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