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Old Thursday 25th June 2009, 08:04   #1
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Black-billed or Western Capercaillie in northern Mongolia

I have just returned from Khovsgul Lake in northern Mongolia where I flushed a male capercaillie without good enough views to identify it with certainty. However, the vocalizations that attracted me to it were very distinctive and I was hoping that someone can help me identify it. It sounded like two wooden sticks being banged together in a distinctive rhythm (my brother felt it was more like a clicking sound). It was clearly a vocalization and different to the sound of a woodpecker, especially the distinctive and repeated rhythm. In reading about Western Capercaillie I have come across descriptions of a champagne cork sound, which is clearly different to what I heard. We later heard a second bird making the same sound, but we could not locate it. At least this means it must be a reasonably common call to make. Any comments would be most welcome.

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Old Thursday 25th June 2009, 10:35   #2
chris butterworth
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Offhand I can't think of the vocal differences between Black-billed and Western Capercaille but I do know that both species are present in the Altai / Sayan mountains, just to the north of you - "dipped" on both earlier this month there. Unless you can get views ( or someone knows their vocalisations! ) I'd say you have to go with Capercaille ? sp.
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Old Thursday 25th June 2009, 10:56   #3
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Hi Tom,

Madge and McGowan - Pheasants, Partridge and Grouse, describe Black-billed as louder than Western and consisting of rythmic clicks, some similar to Western and others that are resonant. Together sounds like tack-tack-tack rolling into a climatic tr-r-rack, usually lasting 5-7 seconds, sometimes up to 12. Song audible for 0.5km.

Western is described as commencing with a low-intensity 'tapping-phase', disyllabic clicks, followed by a 'drum-roll phase', clicks uttered rapidly and finally a quick gurgled 'whetting phase' sounding like a strangled squealing. It does say that western populations also emit the popping sound during drum-roll. Maybe the eastern population doesn't do this?

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Old Thursday 25th June 2009, 11:56   #4
screaming piha
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The top link on this page is a displaying Western (but nothing for Black-billed).

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