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A photo of a Hazel Grouse (Tetrastes bonasia), male
Hazel Grouse, Male

Hazel Grouse

Tetrastes bonasia

The hazel grouse, also known as Tetrastes bonasia, is a modestly sized member of the grouse family, measuring 35–39 cm in length. This plump bird is adorned with a finely patterned plumage, predominantly grey on the upperparts, with brown wings and chestnut-flecked white underparts.

Identification Tips

Males can be distinguished by their short erectile crest and a striking white-bordered black throat. Females, on the other hand, have a less pronounced crest and lack the black throat marking. When observed in flight, the species reveals a black-tipped grey tail.


The hazel grouse favors dense, damp, mixed coniferous woodlands, with a particular affinity for areas abundant in spruce.


This sedentary bird breeds across the Palearctic, with its range extending from eastern and central Europe to as far east as Hokkaido.


Notoriously shy, the hazel grouse can be a challenge to spot due to its preference for dense woodland habitats. Often, the only hint of its presence is the distinctive burr of its wings in flight or its vocal calls.

Song & Calls

The male hazel grouse emits a high-pitched series of notes, described as a "ti-ti-ti-ti-ti," while the female produces a more liquid "tettettettettet."


Nests are constructed on the ground, and a typical clutch comprises 3–6 eggs. The female assumes sole responsibility for incubating the eggs and tending to the chicks, a common trait among gamebirds.

Diet and Feeding

The hazel grouse forages on the ground, primarily consuming plant material, but will supplement its diet with insects during the breeding season.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List currently classifies the hazel grouse as Least Concern, indicating a stable population status.

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