red grouse



red grouse defined in 1930 year

red grouse - Red Grouse;
red grouse - Plumage reddish brown on the head and neck, and chestnut brown, barred and speckled with black, on the upper parts; the feathers of the breast almost black, with white tips. In summer the general colour is lighter; in winter the under parts are frequently mottled with white. Length, sixteen inches. Female: more reddish yellow in colour.

One sunny morning a few months ago, as I stood on a mountain slope among bracken, ling, and furze, and scattered masses of grey rock, watching a small party of grouse near me, it struck me that I had never looked on a more beautiful creature than this bird: - so finely shaped and richly coloured, and proud and free in carriage, and in such perfect harmony with the rough vegetation and that wild and solitary nature amid which it exists. It is not strange that this species should have a fascination above all others for the sportsman that he is willing to go farther and spend more in its pursuit; for it is not the bird only that draws him: the fascination is of that unadulterated nature of which the bird is a part, and the sense of liberty and savage life that returns to man in the midst of mountain and moorland scenery.

To the ornithologist the grouse has another great distinction: it is the only species of bird exclusively British. It is generally distributed in Scotland and its islands, the Shetlands excepted. It also inhabits the moors in the northern counties of England, and of Wales as far south as Glamorgan; and of Ireland, where, unhappily, it is decreasing in numbers.

The grouse feeds principally on the tender shoots of the heather; and also eats leaves and buds of other plants, and such wild fruits as grow on or near the moors. In autumn and winter it is gregarious, and in some localities the males and females pack separately. Pairing takes place very early in the spring, and the male, as is usual in the grouse family, courts the female with curious sounds and a fantastic dancing performance. The wooing takes place very early in the morning, before there is light enough to feed. Flying up to a height of fifteen or twenty feet into the air, he drops down uttering a succession of powerful ringing notes, which end as the bird reaches the ground. This is repeated again and again until daylight and feeding-time suspend the performance. The red grouse is strictly monogamous, and each pair retires to its own chosen nesting-place, where a slight hollow is scratched under a tuft of ling, and five or six to twelve eggs are laid. They are pale olive in ground-colour, blotched with dark red. The female alone incubates, but the male assists in rearing and protecting the young. The chicks when small feed chiefly on small caterpillars.

near red grouse in Knolik


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