Habitat – woodland and moorland
Appearance – 40-55cm. Larger than Red Grouse, male glossy black, female smaller grey/brown.
Voice – mostly silent apart from during the breeding season known as “the lek”, the
Male has a loud call similar to a pigeon, “cook-roo”, becomes a rhythmic bubbling sound, female has a loud cackle “ kok- kok”.
Food – mainly vegetarian diet includes bilberries and heather shoots, also grain and grass seeds
Population changes / conservation – agricultural changes in mid 20th century involving land drainage, conversion of hay meadows to grassland and maturation of plantations were all instrumental in reduction of population. Survival in the north Pennine area probably attributable to the wild and remote countryside and more recently conservation awareness and introduction of The North Pennines Black Grouse Recovery Project, aimed at halting the decline and improving habitat.