Lagopus lagopus 

Scope: Europe
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Galliformes Phasianidae

Scientific Name: Lagopus lagopus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Willow Grouse, Willow Grouse and Red Grouse
Taxonomic Source(s): Cramp, S. and Simmons, K.E.L. (eds). 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2abcd+3bcd+4abcd (Regional assessment) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-03-31
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ashpole, J, Burfield, I., Ieronymidou, C., Pople, R., Wheatley, H. & Wright, L
European regional assessment: Vulnerable (VU)
EU27 regional assessment: Vulnerable (VU)

This grouse is undergoing rapid population declines across the European part of its extremely large global range. It is therefore classified as Vulnerable (A2abcd+3bcd+4abcd) in both Europe and the EU27.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The species is a widespread resident across much of northern Europe from Ireland and western Scotland to the Ural Mountains (de Juana et al. 2013). Birds in northern areas on Russian tundra are partially migratory (Snow and Perrins 1998), moving south within its range to forested areas, outside the breeding season (de Juana et al. 2013).
Countries occurrence:
Belarus; Czech Republic; Estonia; Finland; Germany; Ireland; Latvia; Lithuania; Norway; Russian Federation (European Russia); Spain; Sweden; United Kingdom
Belgium; Faroe Islands
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:3680000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Range Map:22679460-1

Population [top]

Population:The European population is estimated at 1,010,000-2,150,000 pairs, which equates to 2,020,000-4,310,000 mature individuals. The population in the EU27 is estimated at 361,000-704,000 pairs, which equates to 721,000-1,410,000 mature individuals. For details of national estimates, see the supplementary material.

Trend Justification:  In Europe and the EU27 the population size is estimated to be decreasing by 30-49% in 12.6 years (three generations). For details of national estimates, see attached PDF.
For further information about this species, see 22679460_lagopus_lagopus.pdf.
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Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:2020000-4310000,2980000Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The species is found primarily in Arctic tundra, extending south in alpine mountain ranges and along or below the tree line, in openings of boreal forest. It prefers low, moderately moist areas with low shrubs, mosses, grasses and herbs avoiding rocky or lichen-rich tundra and steep slopes. Males prefer territories in areas with vegetation lower than eye level and elevated sites such as rocks, trees or hummocks for displaying on. Laying mainly occurs in May and June, but slightly earlier in the U.K. in April and May. It normally lays eight to eleven eggs. The nest is a shallow scrape with a thin lining in thick vegetation which usually partially covers it. It feeds on buds and twigs of Salix and birch (Betula) in winter. From spring to autumn leaves and berries of Vaccinium and Empetrum are important parts of its diet. It is sedentary in Scotland and Scandinavia, only making short-range altitudinal movements (de Juana et al. 2013).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):4.2
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species is hunted everywhere except the Baltic Countries and Belarus. In the Russian tundra annual bags estimated at c. 2,000,000 west of the Urals (de Juana et al. 2013). The species seems to withstand such a heavy pressure, however in combination with other pressures, such as reductions in habitat quality and extent it can have adverse effects (Madge and McGowan 2002). Important declines in Finland were attributed to excessive hunting. Range contractions in Europe have been attributed to climatic changes (de Juana et al. 2013). It is also vulnerable to collisions with high-tension powerlines and deer fences (Madge and McGowan 2002).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
The species is protected in the Baltic countries and Belarus (Madge and McGowan 2002), elsewhere the setting of hunting seasons and bag limits is generally the only management activity. Monitoring does occur in parts of Europe; In Norway several populations are regularly monitored, whereas in other parts of Fennoscandia and Britain, only some populations are monitored. In Britain, intensive habitat management has increased the density of this species well above natural levels in some areas (Storch 2007). There have been many attempted introductions, although most of them failed, (e.g. scoticus in Germany and Belgium) (de Juana et al. 2013).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Monitoring of populations in areas with potentially high hunting pressures should be undertaken to ensure they are sustainable. Research into the impacts of hunting and habitat alteration on population dynamics should be undertaken. More understanding of its migration and dispersal behaviour and its ability to cope with climate warming in some of its range is needed (Storch 2007).

Citation: BirdLife International. 2015. Lagopus lagopus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T22679460A59944564. . Downloaded on 24 September 2018.
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