Watchable Wildlife

Red Grouse / Cearc Fhraoigh / Lagopus lagopus


Did you know?

  • Known as cearc fhraoigh as Gaeilge which means bird of heather
  • Smaller than pheasants and have a rounded tail
  • Ling heather Calluna vulgaris is crucial in the life cycle of red grouse
  • They feed on young heather shoots, flowers and seed. Berries such as fraocháns or bilberry and some insects are eaten.
  • Red grouse are a red listed species, meaning it has a high conservation concern
  • Nest on the ground
  • Takes off explosively and flies with a series of rapid wing beats followed by a short glide.

What to watch for:

Size: Smaller than a pheasant, rounded body, wings and tail.


  • Males have a deep red-brown plumage with paler underwings, white feathered legs and a bright red comb above the eye.  They look almost black from a distance. The hen red grouse has yellower plumage

Where to watch:

  • Bird of heath, raised and blanket bog

When to watch:

  • All year round, but especially in the breeding season when the birds are more conspicuous

Listen for:             

  • Calls are distinctive accelerating series of loud nasal calls ending in a trill.


Tibradden heathland




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