(Tetrao Lagopus, Linn.—Le Lagopčde, Buff.)
THIS is nearly the same size as the Red Grouse. The bill is black; orbits bright red; the upper parts of the body pale brown or ash, mottled with small dusky spots and bars; the bars on the head and neck are somewhat broader, and mixed with white; the under parts are white, as are also the wings, excepting the shafts of the quills, which are black. This is its summer dress, which in winter is changed to a pure white, excepting that in the male there is a black line between the bill and the eye: the tail consists of sixteen feathers;* the two middle ones ash-coloured in summer, and white in winter, the next two are slightly marked with white near the ends, the rest are wholly black; the upper tail coverts are long, and almost cover the tail.
The White Grouse is fond of lofty situations, where it braves the severest cold: it is found in most of the northern parts of Europe, even as far as Greenland; in this country it is only to be met with on the summits of some of our highest hills, chiefly in the Highlands of Scotland, in the Hebrides and Orkneys, and sometimes, but rarely, on the lofty hills of Cumberland and Wales. Buffon, speaking of this bird, says, that it avoids the solar heat, and prefers the biting frosts on the tops of mountains; for as the snow melts on the sides of the mountains, it constantly ascends, till it gains the summit, where it forms holes and burrows in the snow. They pair at the same time as the Red Grouse: the female lays eight or ten eggs, which are white, spotted with brown: she makes no nest, but deposits them on the ground. In winter they fly in flocks, and are so little accustomed to the sight of man, that they are easily shot or taken in a snare. They feed on the wild productions of the hills, which sometimes give the flesh a bitter, but not unpalatable taste: it is dark coloured, and has somewhat the flavour of the hare.*
Page last modified 10/6/2000.
These pages are best viewed/printed with Internet Explorer, the browser that you're not using right now....
Like this page? Let me know. Hate it? Let me know that too. Click here to offer feedback.
©1999-2002 The edited materials, images, and photographs on this site should not be reproduced without the written permission of Peter Friesen. Contact email@example.com for information.