Capercaillie Lek in Norway

What is Capercaillie Lek?
Simply put, it is the term for when male Eurasian (Western) Capercaillies—hereafter just referred to as Capercaillies—show off and fight to impress the Capercaillie hens. Normally, just a few birds gather for a lek. The victorious male get to mate with the hens in the game place.

Is Capercaillie and Black Grouse the Same?
No, they are two different species (see Black Grouse Lek). Another name of the male Capercaillie is cock of the woods. The female is often referred to as a hen.

Which Sounds Do Capercaillies Make During a Lek?
The sounds are very distinct. First, the cock makes a continuous snapping sound, finished off by a sound resembling that of a cork being pulled out of a bottle, followed by some strange grinding sounds.

Pictures of Capercaillie Lek

From How Far Can You Hear a Lek?
Capercaillie lek can be heard only a few hundred metres away.

Where Can You Find Capercaillie Lek in Norway?
The Capercaillie leks can be difficult to find but by no means impossible. The games usually take place on small hilltops in the woods. Look for them in old pine forests on hilltops with bushes, large stones and tussocks. Outside of the lek season, you can look for cheese doodle-shaped excrements, giving you an indication on where their habitat is.

When is the Best Time for Capercaillie Lek?
The period March through mid-May.
The game itself starts just before sunrise. As the morning progresses, things start calming down.

Do You Have to Stay Overnight to See Capercaillie Lek?
Yes. It is almost impossible to experience Capercaillie lek without staying overnight. These cocks are very shy and can very well stop the game if interrupted. Getting yourself settled in some sort of shelter or hide with camouflage the night before is a good idea. Remember the importance of not leaving the hide until the game is finished and the birds have left the spot. Then you will avoid disturbing their game.


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Suggestions on Where to Find Capercaillie Lek in Norway

We will not provide specific details on where the game places are, as the Capercaillie is a vulnerable species.
As more birding localities are added, the list will be updated.

Northern Norway

Eastern Norway