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Western Capercaillie Grouse

Other Names:  Wood Grouse, Heather Cock, Wood Horse, or Capercaillie

Weighing in at as much as 8 pounds, the Western Capercaillie is the largest grouse in the World.  The Capercaillie is found in the Pine Forests of the Scottish Highlands and is easily differentiated from other birds simply by its size and color. The largest Western Capercaillie recorded was a captive Capercallie that weighed in at 15lb 14oz.

The body of the male Capercaillie is dark brown to dark gray with breast plumage in an iridescent green and tail feathers ranging from black to white.  The hen is lighter in color with body feathers that are brown with barring in shades from black to silver and buff-colored breasts. Both the male and female have a bright red spot of bare skin above each eye that are known as “roses”.

The Western Capercallies is one of the most sexually dimorphic breed of any bird, with an extreme differentiation between the hen and the cock, but both sexes have a white spot on the wing bow and feathered legs to help protect against the cold.

The offspring will have colors much like the hen and they will have black crown feathers. They will molt at about 3 months of age into their adult colorations.  Eggs of the Wester Capercallies are supremely similar in size and color to a speckled chicken egg.

Conservation Status: declining but not yet in danger.


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