Auerhühner & Co.

By Siegfried Klaus and Hans-Heiner Bergmann

AULA-Verlag GmbH, 2020

Hbk, 256pp; 232 colour photographs and numerous illustrations

ISBN 978-3-89104-835-1; £25.00

Siegfried Klaus and Hans-Heiner Bergmann, two highly distinguished grouse researchers, have written a book for the interested layman about all Eurasian members of the grouse family (Tetraonidae) in cooperation with grouse biologists Alexander Andreev, Franz Hafner and Christian Marti. The book is based on knowledge that the authors and other biologists have obtained from scientific research, but the text is easy to understand for those who read German. It is illustrated with excellent photographs and drawings.

The book starts with a general overview of the grouse family. It describes the evolution of the species, their adaptations to cold temperatures, habitat needs, reproductive behaviour, population dynamics, predation, stress due to disturbance, winter flocking behaviour, methods of censusing, how they are affected by climate change, and the interesting occurrences of excessively confiding individuals and hybrids.

After this, the authors describe each species in its own section, including separate treatment for Willow Lagopus l. lagopus and Red Grouse L. l. scotics. The sections vary in length depending on the amount of available scientific knowledge about each species. They summarise and synthesise what is known about the species’ morphology, breeding behaviour, census methods, habitat needs, food habits, and conservation status and projects, including reintroductions. Each section ends with excellent drawings made by Franz Müller of the major types of feathers, egg, and downy young, and a summary of the important facts about the species. A QR code is included for each species, which takes the reader to an online video. 

I can wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the biology, behaviour and conservation of this fascinating group of birds.

Jon E. Swenson

Issue 8
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