Family Pheasants, Partridges, Turkeys, Grouse (Phasianidae)

Least Concern

Black Grouse (Lyrurus tetrix)


French: Tétras lyre German: Birkhuhn Spanish: Gallo lira común
Other common names: Eurasian Black Grouse

Tetrao Tetrix


, 1758,



Often placed with closely related L. mlokosiewiczi in genus Tetrao. Commonly hybridizes with Tetrao urogallus, and quite often with Lagopus lagopus, both hybrids even receiving vernacular names; also occasionally with Lagopus muta and Bonasa bonasia. Geographical variation clinal: race tschusii often included in viridanus, but likely an intergrade; baikalensis sometimes subsumed within ussuriensis. Proposed race fedjuschini (from NW & N Ukraine) included in nominate. Review of subspecies required. Seven subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. t. britannicus Witherby & Lönnberg, 1913 – N & W Britain.
  • L. t. tetrix (Linnaeus, 1758) – most of range, from Scandinavia, Belgium and S French Alps E to NE Siberia (R Kolyma).
  • L. t. viridanus (T. K. Lorenz, 1891) – SE European Russia and SW Siberia between R Don and R Irtysh.
  • L. t. tschusii (H. E. Johansen, 1898) – S Siberia from R Irtysh E to L Baikal, N to Tomsk and Krasnoyarsk, S to NW Altai and Sayan Mts.
  • L. t. baikalensis (T. K. Lorenz, 1911) – SE Siberia from L Baikal E to Amurland, S to N Mongolia and NE China (N Inner Mongolia).
  • L. t. mongolicus (Lönnberg, 1904) – Kyrgyz and Tien Shan E to Altai and other ranges in W Mongolia.
  • L. t. ussuriensis (Kohts, 1911) – C Amurland and extreme NE China (NE Heilongjiang) to R Ussuri and NE Korea.
  • Descriptive notes

    Male c. 60 cm, 1100–1250 g (up to 2100 g); female, c. 45 cm, 750–1100 g. Glossy black, with blue or green reflections, contrasting with white in rounded carpal... read more


    During display at communal leks, males emit a resonant, dove-like rhythmic phrase starting with a... read more


    Highly variable throughout wide range, but typically found in transition area between forests and... read more

    Food and feeding

    In many places, favourite winter food is birch catkins, followed by birch buds and shoots, and needles, cones and male flowers of conifers... read more


    Lays May–Jun. Promiscuous or polygamous; males form leks, which are maintained between the start of the breeding season (typically... read more


    Largely sedentary, although apparently eruptive in some N areas at long intervals, when large... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Major declines and range contractions reported throughout Europe, except in Alps and N, although even in former decreases have been... read more

    Recommended citation

    de Juana, E., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2020). Black Grouse (Lyrurus tetrix). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 9 April 2020).