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Hazel Grouse

Bonasa bonasia

A male hazel grouse during courtship season in springtime. Photo Aaro Toivio.

General information. The hazel grouse is the most frequently nesting of the grouse species in Finland. It is a common nesting species across the whole country with the exception of Lapland mountain regions. The hazel grouse is somewhat larger than the rock pigeon but has a stronger build. The hazel grouse is a protected species under the European Union bird directive.

  • Length 36 cm
  • Nests in a hole in the ground
  • Sedentary species
  • Feeds on berries, shoots, seeds and insects in the summer. Buds, alder- and birch aments in the wintertime.

Habitat. The hazel grouse nests in mixed-type forests with spruce, birch and alder trees. It particularly prefers mixed-type forests dominated by spruce with thick undergrowth.

Distribution in Vaasa. Observations indicating nesting of the hazel grouse were made in 98 different survey blocks in Vaasa. The species thrives in woodland areas of the city that contain almost uniform flora. Normally, the hazel grouse avoids crossing vast, open terrain. However despite this it has nevertheless been observed dwelling in the archipelago. Distribution map is not published due to species protection reasons.