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Caucasian Grouse Lyrurus mlokosiewiczi

This species has been classified as Near Threatened owing to declines that are projected to occur owing to road construction for tourism development. Although population trends in parts of the species's range are unclear, the overall rate of decline is projected to increase owing to increased hunting, grazing and wood cutting, as well as habitat fragmentation; it almost meets the requirements for listing as threatened under criterion A3cde.

Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
Cramp, S.; Perrins, C. M. 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

Taxonomic note
Lyrurus mlokosiewiczi (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) was previously placed in the genus Tetrao.

Tetrao mlokosiewiczi Taczanowski, 1875

Distribution and population
This species is endemic to the Greater and Lesser Caucasus mountains, where there are thought to be some 34,500-76,500 individuals spread between Russia (1,500-3,500 calling males), Georgia (7,551-15,759 calling males), Turkey (1,500-2,800 calling males), Armenia (200-400 calling males), Azerbaijan (700-3,000 calling males) (BirdLife International 2015) and Iran (less than 500 individuals) (T. Sviridova in litt. 2000, Gokhelashvili et al. 2003, BirdLife International 2004, S. Klaus in litt. 2005, Sultanov 2006, Khosravifard in litt. 2007, Storch in press). Population estimates have been very variable and data are patchy, partially due to political unrest which has hampered data collection on populations, trends and threats. Spatial modelling has led to considerably lower population estimates: the global population has recently been estimated at 30,203-63,034 individuals based on extent of suitable habitat in range countries (Gavashelishvili and Javakhishvili 2010); conversely, in Turkey the population was thought to perhaps be as low as 1,000 individuals, but based on spatial modelling, may comprise over 4,800 individuals (Gottschalk et al. 2007). Where trend estimates for 1990-2000 are available they tend to show that the population is in decline (Armenia, 10-19%, Azerbaijan, 20-29% and Turkey, 0-19%) and although in Russia the population is apparently stable, rates of decline are widely predicted to increase. The most recent population assessment as part of the European Red List of Birds found that for most countries the trend direction could not be determined, however the Russian population was reported to be stable between 2000 and 2012 (BirdLife International 2015).

Population justification
Its population size has been estimated at c. 30,000-63,000 individuals based on habitat modelling (Gavashelishvili and Javakhishvili 2010) and c. 11,500-25,500 lekking males (i.e. c. 34,500-76,500 individuals) based on national estimates (BirdLife International 2015).

Trend justification
Population declines, suspected to be moderate over the last ten years, are expected to increase significantly in the near future, owing to increased hunting, habitat degradation and fragmentation brought about by the creation of new roads. Recently published data suggest that the European population may have declined by <20% over the last three generations (19.2 years, based on a generation length estimated by BirdLife to be 6.4 years) (BirdLife International 2015). Europe holds >95% of the global range of this species. In north-west Iran the population is thought to have increased in size from 215 individuals in 2001 to 350 individuals in 2009 (Khaleghizadeh et al. 2011) however it is now suggested that the population may have declined (N. Habibzadeh in litt. 2015). Its habitat in Azerbaijan is reported to be decreasing and under heavy grazing pressure (E. Sultanov in litt. 2015).

It is found in subalpine and alpine meadows, on north-facing slopes with Rhododendron and juniper Juniperus, and on the edge of birch forest in spring and winter, at elevations of 1,300-3,000 m (Gavashelishvili and Javakhishvili 2010). Meadows used for hay production are important for breeding birds (Klaus et al. 2003). Lek sites are found above the timber line not far from winter food resources such as birch Betula litwinowii, oak Quercus macranthera, beech Fagus orientalis, juniper Juniperus and rose Rosa spp (Klaus and Vitovich 2006). A recent study found that landscapes with diverse land cover types around lekking sites provided greater foraging opportunities (Habibzadeh et al. 2013).

Ongoing road building for the construction of holiday homes in the mountains is currently the major threat and is likely to significantly increase the rate of decline by fragmenting habitat, causing disturbance and allowing increased access for hunters and herdsmen (Ba&Thorn;kaya 2003, G. Welch in litt. 2005, Isfendiyaroglu et al. 2007, ýsfendiyaroðlu et al. 2007). Construction of summer homes and wood-cutting for fuel reduces the availability of winter foraging habitat. Habitat loss and deterioration are also likely to be major threats with 40% of subalpine meadows within its range suffering from intensive grazing (WWF/IUCN 1994). The density of birds in grazed areas is low. Grazing livestock disturb and trample nests and birds are killed by herders' dogs (S. Klaus in litt. 2007). Illegal hunting is an increasing threat, particularly in the Lesser Caucasus and in Turkey, both by local residents and occasionally by tourists (E. Ménoni in litt. 2007). Dam building and subsequent re-settlement of displaced people is likely to cause significant declines in Turkey (Ba&Thorn;kaya 2003).

Conservation and Research Actions Underway
Large scale research and conservation projects are underway in Georgia and Turkey to improve understanding of the species' biology, develop monitoring and management activities and promote public awareness, and a project to survey the species in Azerbaijan has been carried out (IUCN/SSC/BirdLife/WPA Grouse Specialist Group 2002; R. Gokhelashvili in litt. 2005; E. Sultanov in litt. 2005; Azniashvili 2004; Sultanov 2006). Future work to develop a conservation strategy and create a potential distribution map for all range countries is planned. A captive breeding program is being developed in Armenia.

Conservation and Research Actions ProposedContinue research into its population status, ecological requirements and interactions with different farming and forestry methods. Encourage the development and implementation of national species action plans. Develop a framework for grouse-friendly farming practice, including control of dogs and regulation of hunting. Develop public awareness campaigns. Prevent road construction and inappropriate development in key areas for the species. Review the adequacy of the existing protected area network. Monitor populations at a number of sites throughout its range, especially close to sites which are being developed.

Azniashvili, L. 2004. Caucasian black grouse. Caucasus Environment: 33-37.

BirdLife International. 2004. Birds in Europe: population estimates, trends and conservation status. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

BirdLife International. 2015. European Red List of Birds. Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg.

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International.

Gavashelishvili, A.; Javakhishvili, Z. 2010. Combining radio-telemetry and random observations to model the habitat of Near Threatened Caucasian Grouse Tetrao mlokosiewiczi. Oryx 44(4): 491-500.

Gokhelashvili, R.; Reese, K. P.; Gavashelishvili, L. 2003. How much do we know about the Caucasian Black Grouse Tetrao mlokosiewiczi? Sandgrouse 25: 33-40.

Gottschalk, T. K.; Ekschmitt, K.; Isfendiyaroglu, S.; Gem, E.; Wolters, V. 2007. Assessing the potential distribution of the Caucasian Black Grouse Tetrao mlokosiewiczi in Turkey through spatial modelling. Journal of Ornithology 148(4): 427-434.

Habibzadeh, N., Karami, M., Alavipanah, S.K. and Riazi, B. 2013. Landscape Requirements of Caucasian Grouse (Lyrurus mlokosiewiczi) in Arasbaran Region, East Azerbaijan, Iran. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 125(1): 140-149.

Isfendiyaroglu, S., Welch, G., Ataol, M. 2007. The Caucasian black grouse Tetrao mlokosiewiczi in Turkey: recent survey results and conservation recommendations. Wildlife Biology 13(1): 13-20.

Isfendiyaroglu, S.; Welch, G.; Ataol, M. 2007. The Caucasian black grouse Tetrao mlokosiewiczi in Turkey: recent survey results and conservation recommendations. Wildlife Biology 13: 13-20.

IUCN; SSC; BirdLife; WPA Grouse Specialist Group. 2002. Clarifying the status of the Caucasian Black Grouse.

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

Khaleghizadeh, A., Scott, D.A., Tohidifar, M., Babak, S., Musavi, M.G., Sehhatisabet, M.E. and Eskandari, F. 2011. Rare birds in Iran in 1980-2010. Podoces 6: 1-48.

Klaus, S.; Bergmann, H. H.; Wiesner, J.; Vitovich, O. A.; Etzold, J.; Sultanov, E. 2003. Verhalten und Ökologie des Kaukasusbirkhuhns Tetrao mlokosiewiczi - stumme Balz am steilen Hang. Limicola 17(5): 225-268.

Klaus, S.; Vitovich, A. V. 2006. Clarifying the status of the Caucasian Black Grouse Tetrao mlokosiewiczi - methodical approach. Grouse News: 11-15.

Manvelyan, K. 2004. Captive management of the Caucasian black grouse (Tetrao mlokosiewicsi) in the Armenian centre for biodiversity conservation. Grouse News 27: 6-9.

Storch, I. in press. Grouse: status survey and conservation action plan 2005-2009. IUCN and the World Pheasant Association, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, U.K.

Sultanov, E. 2006. Surveys in Caucasian Black Grouse habitats in Azerbaijan. Grouse News: 25-28.

WWF/IUCN. 1994. Centres of plant diversity: a guide and strategy for their conservation. World Wide Fund for Nature and International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Cambridge, U.K.

Further web sources of information
Detailed regional assessment and species account from the European Red List of Birds (BirdLife International, 2015)

Detailed species account from Birds in Europe: population estimates, trends and conservation status (BirdLife International 2004)

Doga Dernegi Project

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Derhé, M., Harding, M., Keane, A., Mahood, S., Pople, R. & Ashpole, J

Ananian, V., Balkiz, O., Baskaya, S., Etzold, J., Gavashelishvili, A., Ghasabyan, M., Gokhelashvili, R., Khosravifard, S., Klaus, S., Mezhnev, A., Ménoni, E., Patrikeev, M., Storch, I., Sultanov, E., Sviridova, T., Welch, G., Klaus, S. & Isfendiyaroglu, S.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2015) Species factsheet: Lyrurus mlokosiewiczi. Downloaded from on 28/11/2015. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2015) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 28/11/2015.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Phasianidae (Pheasants, Partridges, Turkeys, Grouse)
Species name author Taczanowski, 1875
Population size 20000-47000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 87,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- 2015 European Red List assessment