Measures to save capercaillie outlined - NatureScot

A new scientific review has advised on measures which could help reverse the fortunes of the iconic capercaillie in Scotland.

The report from a sub-group of the NatureScot Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) advises that if perilous population declines continue the species could be lost to Scotland within two to three decades.

After a thorough review of the scientific evidence, the report advises that current breeding success appears to be too low to allow recovery of the population.

Capercaillie displaying at spring lek on soft moor with trees around
Capercaillie displaying at spring lek in the Cairngorms National Park (© Neil McIntyre)

Interventions that improve the survival of eggs and young chicks are especially important. These include predator control and diversional feeding; and creation of refuges around hotspots to minimise disturbance. Survival of adults would be enhanced with more work to mark or remove deer fences, which can cause injury or death to birds in flight.

The review drew on a large amount of impressive past and on-going research by members of the Scottish Capercaillie Group.

Factors having the biggest impact on breeding success were identified as increased predation from foxes, pine martens and crows; as well as more disturbance due to rises in visitor numbers and recreational activities. The report highlighted the importance of further action across the core area of Badenoch and Strathspey if the population is to be conserved.

Drawing on the report, areas for further action being considered include:

Read the Review of Capercaillie Conservation and Management - Report to the Scientific Advisory Committee here.

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Posted On: 25/02/2022

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