Black Grouse

Black Grouse (Lyrurus tetrix)

The Blackcock, Black game, Moorcock or Black grouse, as it is variously known, is our largest grouse. The Male, in common with many male gamebirds, is quite the country dandy, especially when engaged in display and combat for a female (or greyhen) on the lekking ground. The males (or Blackcock) completely change their outward appearance by filling their crop with air, lifting the tail beyond vertical, fanning it out widely and posturing with head movements and vocalisations; a spectacular sight which few get to see in person. I have seen them, but have yet to witness a lek in full swing.  Female black grouse, if viewed close up, are no less stunning with their complex cryptic markings.

Black grouse are a gamebird here and remain on the game list. However, few estates which have them can fulfil the stocking levels required to provide a sustainable, shootable surplus, and the few who can tend not to do so. This is highly commendable, as many upland landowners and estates,along with various conservation bodies from RSPB to the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust are working hard and invest hugely to help them out of their plight. They have been in a deal of trouble now for many years with numbers declining drastically. Their decline is, in the main, due to loss of suitable habitat and heavy predation. Once numbers become too low, unless the predation is suppressed, they struggle to recover at all.

Further reading at and

Black Grouse taxidermy

Blackcock are still hunted in much of northern Europe and Russia, as populations there provide for a surplus in the right areas, but numbers here mean they are seldom, if ever, shot. I have done just two or three in over 20 years.
This specimen was picked up dead on an Estate in south west Scotland (having hit a deer fence) which had no recent records of black Grouse, although historically they were probably common in that area.
This specimen is mounted in a lekking posture and placed on a wall mount for display reasons. I doubt one would engage in lekking behaviour aloft on a branch in nature, as the lekking behaviour takes place on terra firma.
This mount consists of the following components:

  • Black grouse mounted in lekking display posture.
  • Habitat wall mount.