Black grouse male calling at lek site in Kuusamo, Finland
© Oliver Smart/Alam
I'm here! Take a look at me!
Spring is lekking season for the black grouse. In the early morning, the male birds, like this fancy fella in Finland, gather on lek sites, often a patch of open ground, to put on a show for the ladies in the audience. The guys flash their white tail feathers, utter cooing and hissing noises, flutter jump, and pick fights with each other—all to demonstrate their dominance to the watching hens. (Hens are smaller and have grey-brown feathers.) When a hen picks out the male she likes, the two fly off to mate and then go their separate ways. Love connections are brief in the black grouse world.