By David Tomlinson
Monday, 15 October 2007
I recently saw mention of an Iberian capercaillie in an article and, though I've been a keen shot and bird-watcher for years, cannot recall having heard of this bird. Is there such a bird? What also is the status of the British caper today?
A: The capercaillie, the world's largest grouse, has an extensive range that includes the Pyrenees, the Alps, Scandinavia and Siberia, extending as far east as Lake Baikal.
The westernmost population is to be found in northern Spain in the Cantabrian Mountains.
These Iberian capers are rather small, and have sub-specific status as tetrao urogullus cantabricus.
They are seriously endangered, as the population now numbers fewer than 100 birds.
The reintroduced Scottish population has been in steep decline since the early 1970s, but has shown some signs of stabilising in recent years. It is thought to number approximately 2,000 birds.
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