A male black grouse perched on top of a conifer

Black grouse

Black grouse are distinctive looking gamebirds of northern Europe's woodland and moorland. Like their close relatives, capercaillies, male black grouse put on an impressive display in the breeding season. At dawn, the males gather to inflate their necks, raise their tails and make a bubbling 'rookooing' sound. At stake is the chance to mate with more of the watching females than any of the other males. Black grouse are also known as blackcocks and greyhens, because of the colour of the male and female birds respectively.

Did you know?
Young black grouse eat spiders and insects; adult birds are primarily vegetarian.

Scientific name: Tetrao tetrix

Rank: Species

Common names:

  • Black cock,
  • Blackgame,
  • Grey hen

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Map showing the distribution of the Black grouse taxa

Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The Black grouse can be found in a number of locations including: Asia, Europe, Russia, United Kingdom, Wales. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Black grouse distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Year assessed: 2009

Classified by: IUCN 3.1

BBC News about Black grouse