British wildlife recordings
Lagopus lagopus : Red Grouse - Phasianidae
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Red Grouse, Lagopus lagopus
This is a recording of the call of the red grouse. The red grouse is the game-bird of grouse-moor fame, and is a widespread resident of extensive heather-clad moorland and other treeless areas in upland areas of north and west Britain. The British race of red grouse is deemed to be an endemic sub-species of the continental willow grouse. Red grouse are mainly vegetarian, a large component of their diet being young heather sprigs, but invertebrates such as crane-flies are also taken during summer, and are an important food source for the young during their growth phase. The male persuades females to mate with a display which involves calling, puffing out feathers, erecting its tail, and moving with a stiff walk. Red grouse are particularly vocal when flushed from the hillside, announcing their presence with a 'go-back, back, back' call and a fast, direct flight on alternate whirring and gliding wings. The fortunes of the red grouse are intrinsically linked to the management of the large grouse moors. These habitats were extensively managed for shooting but much moorland has been degraded since World War II due to a reduction in the number of active gamekeepers and a lack of predator control. Large swathes have also simply been lost underneath conifer plantations. There are around 250,000 breeding pairs in Britain.