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The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no. 207076, Scotland no. SC037654 775-1556-08-09

Scottish Government SRDP website www.scotland.gov.uk/ Topics/Rural/SRDP

GWCT website www.gct.org.uk

RSPB website www.rspb.org.uk

BAP website www.blackgrouse.info

RSPB Scotland advisory sheets on: Heather moorland management; Moorland grazing; Grip blocking.

Further information:

Seek advice on what management to undertake on your holding and how to fund it.

Manage predation risk and consider targeted predator control to improve breeding success.

Remove or mark high-risk fences.

Create and expand native woodland and look for management opportunities within existing forestry plantations.

Help to maintain a mosaic of suitable habitats in the landscape and manage grazing levels to provide a varied vegetation structure.

KEY POINTS

Black grouse

Habitats and land management

D Dugan (RSPB)

NFU Scotland, Head Office, Rural Centre – West Mains, Ingliston, Midlothian EH28 8LT Tel: 0131 472 4000 www.nfus.org.uk

Scottish Natural Heritage, Great Glen House, Leachkin Road, Inverness IV3 8NW Tel: 01463 725000 www.snh.org.uk

Scottish Agricultural College, King’s Buildings, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JG Tel: 0131 535 4000 www.sac.ac.uk

Forestry Commission Scotland, Silvan House, 231 Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh EH12 7AT Tel: 0131 334 0303 www.forestry.gov.uk

Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, Scottish HQ, Couston, Newtyle PH12 8UT Tel: 01828 650543 www.gct.org.uk

Advisory Manager, RSPB Scotland, Dunedin House, 25 Ravelston Terrace, Edinburgh EH4 3TP Tel: 0131 311 6500 www.rspb.org.uk

You can get further information on this and other ways of managing your land for wildlife from:

the Species Action Framework for the production of this leaflet.

Rowan/hawthorn berries

RSPB Scotland gratefully acknowledges Scottish Natural Heritage funding under

(invertebrates only)

Chick rearing

Insects & spiders

Scots pine pollen

Given the current plight of black grouse, many grouse moor owners operate a voluntary ban. Some estates impose fines for accidental shooting.

Rush and sedge seeds

Cotton grass

Brief guns on driven red grouse and pheasant days not to shoot black grouse.

Shooting Avoid shooting black grouse.

Birch buds

Larch buds

The RSPB Corrimony reserve in the Highlands offers black grouse viewing each spring – see the RSPB website for further details.

Blaeberry berries

up before daybreak and do not disturb the birds by starting the engine or opening doors. When walking in areas that are used by black grouse, keep to footpaths and keep dogs on a lead. The full Code of Conduct can be found at www.blackgrouse.info/forbirdwatchers/code.htm

Blaeberry shoots

Care should be taken not to disturb lekking black grouse and never approach displaying birds on foot. Leks can be viewed from cars parked more than 300m away, if you set

Heather

Lek viewing

DEC

NOV

OCT

SEP

AUG

JUL

JUN

MAY

APR

MAR

FEB

JAN

FOOD TYPE

(Continued from previous page)

BLACK GROUSE – DIVERSITY OF FOOD TYPES

Mark Hamblin (rspb-images.com)

Black grouse are found on moorland, rough grazings, young conifer plantations and suitable native woodlands in upland areas of Britain, from Wales to Northern Scotland. Arable fields (stubbles) and inbye grasslands at the moorland edge may also be used.

Black grouse is one of the fastest declining species in the UK. The most recent survey revealed an overall decline of 29% in Scotland between 1995 and 2005, with populations in the south of the country experiencing the steepest declines. The range of black grouse in Britain contracted by 28% between two major bird distribution surveys (1968–72 and 1988–91). This is a big contraction, undoubtedly associated with the population decline.

WHAT DO BLACK GROUSE NEED?

Black grouse need a mosaic

A range of food types

of habitats

throughout the year

Throughout the year, black grouse will use a wide range of habitats for nesting, feeding, lekking (displaying), chick-rearing, cover and shelter. Farmers, foresters, moorland managers and gamekeepers all play a vital role in safeguarding these habitats in the parts of Scotland where black grouse remain.

Long vegetation for nesting

Black grouse require long heather or areas of tall vegetation (>40 cm) for nesting and cover.

Heather and blaeberry are important foods for adult black grouse throughout the year. In the autumn and winter, they will take buds from trees such as birch, and berries from rowan and hawthorn. At other times of the year, grasses, sedges, rushes and herbs might be eaten depending on local availability. Adult females benefit from eating protein-rich foods such as larch buds and cotton grass buds in the spring as this helps them to get into good breeding condition. Insects, including caterpillars and sawfly larvae, are an important food source for chicks (see back page for further details).

Food types chart images by D Dugan (rspb-images.com), Niall Benvie (rspb-images.com) and Jeremy Roberts (RSPB)

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