The home of Shooting Times and Sporting Gun

Black grouse population growing on Welsh moor

A survey has counted more than twice the number of black grouse in 2024 than were recorded in 2023 across 2,000 hectares of moor in Denbighshire. Last year 40 birds were logged, but that number has risen to around 80 this time. 

In a partnership that includes Denbighshire County Council, Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB, farmers and Flintshire County Council, countryside rangers have worked to improve the habitat for black grouse and to monitor them since 1997. They survey lek sites across 2,000 hectares of moorland. Lek sites are where the males gather during April and May to compete for a mate. They put on a courtship display, creating a deep bubbling noise to attract females. 

Jack Parry of Clywdian Range AONB said: “It’s great news that there have not been any further losses. However, the species is still in a fragile state.” 

Rough Shot Gethin Jones, who is based in the area, said: “This is excellent news for black grouse, one of the most iconic species inhabiting our Welsh uplands. It’s refreshing to see such success emanating from years of practical cooperation between local authorities, landowners and hands-on conservationists. 

“We hope that policymakers in the Welsh government note what can be achieved through collaboration with those with local knowledge and practical wildlife management experience.”