Hazel grouse

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Hazel grouse
Tetrastes bonasia.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Family: Phasianidae
Genus: Tetrastes
T. bonasia
Binomial name
Tetrastes bonasia
Tetrastes bonasia distribution revise map.png
Range of T. bonasia
  • Tetrao bonasia Linnaeus, 1758
  • Bonasa bonasia (Linnaeus, 1758)

The hazel grouse (Tetrastes bonasia), sometimes called the hazel hen, is one of the smaller members of the grouse family of birds. It is a sedentary species, breeding across the Palearctic as far east as Hokkaido, and as far west as eastern and central Europe, in dense, damp, mixed coniferous woodland, preferably with some spruce. The bird is sometimes referred to as "rabchick" (from рябчик) by early 20th century English speaking travellers to Russia.[3]

Hazel grouse
Eggs, Collection Museum Wiesbaden
Hazel Grouse chick
Tetrastes bonasia rupestris - MHNT


This is a relatively small grouse at 35–39 cm (14–15 in) length. The plumage of this plump bird is finely patterned, but it essentially has grey upperparts, brown wings and chestnut flecked white underparts.

The male has a short erectile crest and a white-bordered black throat. The female has a shorter crest and lacks the black color on the throat. In flight, this species shows a black-tipped grey tail.

The male has a high-pitched ti-ti-ti-ti-ti call, and the female a liquid tettettettettet. These calls, along with the burr of the flying birds' wings, are often the only indication of this grouse's presence, since its shyness and dense woodland habitat make it difficult to see.


This bird feeds on the ground, taking mainly plant food, supplemented by insects when breeding.


The nest is on the ground, and 3–6 eggs is the normal clutch size. The female incubates the eggs and cares for the chicks alone, as is typical with gamebirds.


  1. BirdLife International (2012). "Bonasa bonasia". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2012. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  2. Peterson, Alan P. "Birds of the World — current valid scientific avian names". Retrieved 27 January 2010.
  3. http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/bryant/russia/russia-XXIV.html

External links

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