Thursday, 27 March 2008

Special Birds: Hazel Grouse

Though Hazel Grouse Bonasa bonasia (aka Hazelhen) is a much sought after bird, and one that is often difficut to observe well, it is actually quite common where there is suitable habitat. It is a resident, living in mature mixed forests with rich ground vegatation from The Baltic States to the Balkans. The species is absent from forests which are over-managed. Bold black and white bands on the tail are often all that is seen as birds flush and fly into dense cover. If seen well, males are attractive birds with warm brown, rufous and grey colours, a bold black throat bordered by white and a crest, which is erected when in display. Females are more brown and even more camouflaged than males, as is the case with most ground nesting birds. Sometimes when birds are flushed a strong whirring of their wings is all that is heard.

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