With less than twenty species worldwide and only four British and Irish species, the grouse is surprisingly well-known. Its habitats are diverse and relatively remote – ranging from deep forests, through open moorland, to Scotland’s highest peaks.
‘Grouse: The Natural History of British and Irish Species’ covers four of the most emblematic species of our upland regions. Collectively they have the most fascinating life histories of any bird group, individually they have their own stories to tell: the ptarmigan is a resident of our highest mountain areas, the black grouse is famous for its extraordinary mating displays, the capercaillie is one of our largest birds and the red grouse, whilst no-longer one of the few British endemics, is one of the most heavily researched species. All four face similar problems, including habitat loss, predators, pests, disease and food shortage. This is compounded by issues of managed animal populations and controversy surrounding the commercial worth of grouse.
This volume in the New Naturalist series, written by two of the world's leading grouse specialists, offers a fascinating insight into the natural history and biology of these birds, including aspects of their behaviour, the historical relevance of their names, the reasons behind population fluctuations and international conservation efforts.