[order] Galliformes | [family] Phasianidae | [latin] Bonasa Bonasia | [UK] Hazel Grouse | [FR] Gélinotte de bois | [DE] Haselhuhn | [ES] Grévol | [IT] Francolino di monte | [NL] Hazelhoen

Hazelhoen determination

copyright: C. Dortu

Small, secretive, tree-haunting grouse with more complex plumage marks than larger relatives and distinctive wing-sound in flight. Both sexes show mainly grey rump and uppertail¾pattern of latter diagnostic, with distinct black subterminal band and white rim obvious on all but central feathers¾and white lines or bands down sides of neck and along scapulars. ( has short crest and white-bordered black throat patch.

Hazel grouse inhabit mostly mixed coniferous-deciduous forests. They show fairly narrow requirements for habitat structure; availability of relatively dense coniferous or deciduous cover from the ground to about 2 m in height seems to be critical. Hazel grouse are found in a wide variety of habitat types that provide this structural requirement; old growth as well as managed deciduous or coniferous forests of different harvest regimes and successional stages. In pure coniferous forests, e.g. in the Alps, hazel grouse may occur in low densities as long as small deciduous patches are provided, e.g. along streams. During snow, hazel grouse feed on catkins and buds of deciduous trees such as Alnus, Betula, Corylus, Sorbus, Fagus, and Chosenia. Close interspersion of feeding trees and cover is crucial. In snowfree times, the birds feed on a variety of shrubs, herbs, and grasses. Hazel grouse avoid open areas and seem to be particularly vulnerable to forest fragmentation

Bonasa bonasia is a widespread resident in northern Europe, but occurs more patchily farther south, with Europe accounting for less than half of its global range. Its European breeding population is very large (>2,500,000 pairs), and was stable between 1970-1990. Although there were declines in several countries-most notably Finland-during 1990-2000, these were more than compensated for by increases in the stronghold population in Russia, and the species underwent a small increase overall.
This species has a wide distribution in deciduous, coniferous and mixed forests of Eurasia, from eastern France to China, Manchuria and northern Japan. The total populations of the European Union (12 Member States) is estimated at ...10.000 to 15.000 breeding pairs, and is decreasing everywhere because mostly of over-hunting and loss of habitat through modernisation of forestry practices

Chiefly vegetarian, taking wide variety of buds, shoots, leaves, flowers, fruits, berries, seeds, etc., according to area and season; also insects¾principally ants and their larvae, various beetles, moth caterpillars, etc. In winter, usually arboreal; in summer, forages mainly on ground.

This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 10,000,000 km². It has a large global population, including an estimated 5,000,000-6,300,000 individuals in Europe (BirdLife International in prep.). Global population trends have not been quantified; there is evidence of a population decline, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from birdlife.org]

Hazel Grouse mate in April or May around the time of snowmelt. They are ground-nesting birds, and only the females incubate. Grouse produce a single brood each year, but hens may re-nest if they loose their clutch during the laying period or an early stage of incubation. Mean clutch sizes of grouse are between five and 12 eggs (see Johnsgard 1983). Incubation begins with the last egg laid and chicks hatch after approximately 3-4 weeks. Chicks are precocious, that is they leave the nest shortly after hatching. The female accompany and protect the brood. During their first weeks of life, grouse chicks depend on high-energy food and invertebrates comprise the major part of their diet. Broods stay together with the female until autumn.

Resident in whole breeding range, probably nomadic after breeding season dependent on food supply