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Tetraonidae


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; class Aves, order Galliformes)

A family of medium to large gamebirds which are mainly black, grey, and brown in colour, some with areas of white, others moulting into an all-white plumage in winter. (In the three Lagopus species brown breeding plumage is moulted into a white winter plumage in all but L. lagopus scoticus, red grouse.) Grouse have short, slightly decurved bills, and many have red wattles above the eyes. Many males have erectile head feathers and inflatable air sacs for display purposes. They have short, rounded wings, and some have elaborate tail feathers. They inhabit forest, open country, heather moorland, and tundra, feed on buds, leaves, and other vegetable matter, and nest on the ground. Tetrao urogallus is the capercaillie, reintroduced into Britain after it became extinct; Lyrurus tetrix is the black grouse. There are six genera in the family, with 16 species, found in Europe, Asia, and N. America.

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.


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