Seasonal variation in lek attendance and lekking behaviour by male Black Grouse Tetrao tetrix

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Abstract

Eleven Black Grouse Tetrao tetrix leks in the Scottish Highlands were visited at dawn once every week for a year. Apart from July and three leks which were unoccupied in winter, males visited leks throughout the year. Total numbers of males attending leks peaked in March in one study area (six leks) and in April in the second (five leks). The number of males present and the proportion of leks occupied varied seasonally. The proportion of males at leks was at a maximum in April (80% of males) when all leks were attended, with a secondary peak in September when 60% of leks had males present. Males spent the most time displaying in April. The optimal conditions for attendance were calm, dry mornings just after dawn. Most reliable counts of numbers of males were those made between the last week of March and the end of the first week of May.

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