The Western Capercaillie, gaelic 'Capull coille' meaning horse of the woods is the largest (turkey sized) member of the grouse family. It is found in mature confierous forests and woodlands in Northern Scotland, Europe, Scandinavia and the Pyrenees.
The male bird is larger than the female, his plummage is dark grey to dark brown and his breast feathers are a dark iridescent green. His belly and undertail vary from black to white depending on geography and he has fleshy red combs above his eyes. The female is smaller and weighs only half as much as the male, her plummage on her upper body is brown with black and silver barring, Her under plummage is lighter with buffish yellow colouring and has no fleshy combs above her eyes.
The male Western Capercaillie is a lekking bird, he fights other males to hold and defend a territory to attract females to mate with. The courtship of the females involves an impressive display (tail fanning etc) and an erray of vocal calls. Clutch size is about 8-12 eggs (incubation approximatley 26-28 days).
The Capercaillie's diet includes heather, blaeberry, fir, pine, spring buds, catkins, seasonal fruits (rowans) etc.
Western Capercaillie are a little more challenging to breed and look after as they need a bit more care in handleing, as during springtime the males become very aggressive towards the human keeper. A grouse for the fearless!!
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