Species Champions: Capercaillie

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The Capercaillie is the world’s biggest grouse and, within the UK, lives only in Scotland. It is famous for its ‘lekking’ behaviour, where groups of males display to females in spring, and are found in Caledonian pine forest – itself a rare and vulnerable habitat. It was extinct by the early 19th century, successfully reintroduced in the 1830s, but is now again at risk of Scottish extinction. The overall decline may have slowed but the Capercaillie has more recently abandoned large areas of its range, with most birds now found in Strathspey. Research suggests the cause to be low breeding productivity from a combination of cold, wet weather during the breeding season, deteriorating and fragmenting habitat, predation and human disturbance.

Action Needed

1. Support measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

2. Seek funding for the improvement, extension and connectivity of natural pine woodlands.

3. Seek funding for deer fence removal and/or marking.

4. Promote adherence to the Outdoor Access Code by dog-walkers.

5. Ensure the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy is fully implemented.

Threats

Climate Change

Habitat loss and fragmentation

Predation and deer-fence collisions

Disturbance

MSP Species Champion

Jamie Halcro Johnston

Member for: Highlands and Islands

Party: Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party

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