• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Capercaillies in Strathspey (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
Yesterday I went to a forest in Strathspey and I had my (most likely) first Capercaillie sighting.

I do not think I should disclose the location, but I can say that it was one of the Strathspey locations where Capercaillies are known to occur, and plus there are signs along the tracks to be careful about the Capercaillies. I did not go off the tracks and walked very quiet alone (sometimes without my shoes!) and I choose purposefully a murky day, so that the forest would be free of people, and a windfree day, so that I could hear things easily.

After 1-2 hours of waiting, I heard on 2 occasions a female Capercaillie call, just for a few seconds (sadly I couldn't record but I was switching between the map app and the video recording app). Those two calls were clearly a Caper (and according to xenocanto, female). On a third occasion I heard a louder call, not sure if that is from the male, as it seemed slightly different.

The lucky time was when I stopped for an hour very quiet in a good spot where I could see a large clearing in the woods (I was moving in the directions of where I heard the calls). And there I saw for a few seconds a grouse-like bird on the ground, in between the shrubs, running away from me, some 100 meters away. While I cannot say this was a Capercaillie for 100%, it most likely was one and a female one. This was in the main area for Capers, and I find very unlikely that it was another type of grouse or a pheasant. Shall I be confident about my sighting?

Later, on a another occasion, and another location in the forest, I heard a strange loud sound on the forest that matches this (https://www.xeno-canto.org/467366). Maybe someone can help me understand what this was. (I did not see the Caper on this occasion though I suspected it, as there were several trees between me and the place where the action was taking place).

I spent 5+ hours in the forest, with 1 possible sighting and 3-4 sounds heard. The rest of the time the forest was a very quiet place, with a few woodpeckers, wrens and crested tits.

I was contemplating that this was perfect habitat for Caper, a large area of forest, with many mature Scot pines, several large forest clearings, some wet areas, and a lot of blaeberry. But I was also thinking about the problems for the Capers: their habitats are often surrounded by unsuitable habitats around (there is a lot of habitat fragmentation in Strathspey), plus in most places where Capers might occur there are paths around with easy access for humans, so potential for easy disturbance during mating season or when raising the chicks.
Last edited:


Well-known member
That must have been a nice experience for you. Caledonian forests are beautiful enough on their own, but add capercaillies to that and it sort of becomes magical, doesn't it?

I can't really say what it was. Can you describe what exactly it looked like and if possible how big it was?
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
Warning! This thread is more than 2 years ago old.
It's likely that no further discussion is required, in which case we recommend starting a new thread. If however you feel your response is required you can still do so.

Users who are viewing this thread