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Black Grouse

Tetrao tetrix

Classe: Uccelli (Aves)

Dimensions: length: male 60 cm, female 40 cm.

Habitat: it prefers the upper woodlands and high-mountain shrubs. It particularly lives between 1,500 and 2,100 meters of altitude.

Diet: in winter it feeds on needles and buds, in summer its diet is enriched with leaves, sprouts, fruits, and small invertebrates.

Reproduction: males, which are polygamous, settle at the end of the winter in the singing arenas, that is clearings where, from mid-May, they perform matches, singing, and parades. The females, once fecundated, move away in order to lay their eggs (6-10) on the ground, in a safe place. Brooding lasts about 25 days.

Cubs: they are born at the end of June and are immediately able to follow the mother in search of food. The family breaks up after three months, when the chicks are completely independent.

Curiosities: in winter, in order to protect itself from the cold, it digs holes in the snow and finds shelter in them during the coldest days.

Notes: it is unmistakable for its lyre-shaped tail and its black bright feathers. The female has much less striking colors allowing her to camouflage. Like the Wood Grouse, the male shows off in the arenas in the mating season to conquer females; however, at the end of mating, the couple breaks up, and only the female prepares the nest and looks after the chicks.

In the Park: it is the most widespread tetraonid in the Park, more common in the central area.

Black Grouses fighting
Black Grouses fighting
(photo by Fabrizio Friz CTA-CFS)
 
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