Welcome to Wild In Britain, an occasional and irregular photo journal of my encounters with all types of wildlife in the British Isles. All species featured on the site are wild, and all photographs are the copyright of Ben Locke. For prints and licensing click here. Please also take a look at my main site BenLocke.co.uk
Capercaillie are primarily pinewood grouse that inhabit native pine forest and occasionally, conifer plantations. They spend a lot of time feeding on blaeberries on the ground, but may also be found in trees, feeding on pine needles. The males are black, huge and unmistakable, especially when they gather to perform their mating ritual at favoured “lek” sites. But the UK capercaillie population and range has declined rapidly, and it is now at risk of extinction. This is due to its very specialised requirements: these birds need not only suitable habitat, but wide expanses of it. Conservation and restoration of this habitat is essential for their survival.