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Western Capercaillie

About Western Capercaillie

This is a turkey-like bird with feathered brown to gray legs. Males are dark gray with black throat and face, red eyebrow, and pale bill. Chestnut wings and shoulders with white on flanks and glossy green breast mottled with white. Belly mottled blackish and white. Females are brown to buff, mottled with white and black with chestnut breast and dark gray bill.

The Western Capercaillie breeds in the spring. Females make scrapes in undergrowth or at the foot of a tree, lined with plant material and debris. They lay 5-8 pale yellowish-buff eggs, which are incubated by the female alone for 24-29 days.

The Capercaillie is the largest grouse. The male is huge compared to the female, but both spend a lot of time in the trees, roosting on branches at night and feeding on pine needles in winter. During the summer and fall they feed off the ground, gathering the soft shoots and berries of woodland plants, such as bilberry, cloudberry, and horsetails.

The males do not like people, dogs or cars, and they will take off after them if they feel they are in danger.