Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Black Grouse

Card no 385 - Kristina
Black Grouse
Country: Belarus
Place: Navapolatsk
Received: 4nd February 2013
Distance:   1,274 miles
Travelled for: 10 days

The Black Grouse or Blackgame (Tetrao tetrix) is a large game bird in the grouse family. It is a sedentary species, breeding across northern Eurasia in moorland and bog areas near to woodland, mostly boreal.   It is one of the many species first described in the 10th edition of Systema Naturae in 1758 by Carl Linnaeus, and still bears its original binomial name.  Both Tetrao and tetrix come from Ancient Greek words referring to some form of game bird.
Black grouse have a very distinctive and well-recorded courtship ritual. At dawn in the spring, the males strut around in a traditional area and display whilst making a highly distinctive mating call. This process is called a lek and the grouse are said to be lekking.  In Western Europe these gatherings seldom involve more than 40 birds; in Russia 150 is not uncommon and 200 have been recorded.  I was fortunate enough to see them lekking (only a couple) in the early morning on the mountainside above Dolwyddelan, Wales, some years ago.  It's a very noisy and attractive display.

The card had these stamps.

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