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© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki, M. & W. von Wright: Svenska fåglar (Kansalliskirjasto, The National Library of Finland). Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.

Hazel Grouse

Tetrastes bonasia

  • Family: Pheasants and Partridges – Phasianidae
    Subfamily: Grouse – Tetraoninae
  • Appearance: A small grouse with grey, brown, black and white patterning.
  • Size: Length 34–39 cm, wingspan 48–54 cm, weight 250–450 g.
  • Nest: In a hollow on the ground, concealed beneath a small tree, bush or branch. Seldom uses nest material.
  • Breeding: 9–10 eggs laid in May, incubated by female for 25–27 days. Fledglings become able to fly within just 4 days.
  • Distribution: Thrives in dense forest habitats, especially in spruce stands. Hard to see, since is a master of camouflage and concealment. Declining, with Finnish population currently estimated at 400,000–500,000 pairs.
  • Migration: Sedentary, though known to move between separate areas of forest that are not too distant.
  • Diet: Shoots, buds, catkins and berries.
  • Calls: More often heard than seen. Typical call a 4-5-syllabic whistle. In flight wings give off a characteristic loud clattering sound.
  • Endangerment: Vulnerable, protected.

Hazel Grouse are approximately Jackdaw-sized, making them the smallest grouse found in Finland. They have rounded bodies, small heads and thin black beaks. Their attractive plumage has brown, grey, white and black markings. Their tails end in a broad black band. Males have black bibs and distinctive crests on the back of their heads. Hazel Grouse have brownish grey legs covered with feathers, and reddish brown irises.

The Hazel Grouse is the second most common grouse in Finland (after the Black Grouse). Adults mate monogamously in early spring. Like other members of the family pheasants and partridges they may be hunted in hunting season.

Other species from the same family

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