Male grouse display lekking behavior, which is when many males come together in one area and put on displays to attract females
Male grouse display lekking behavior, which is when many males come together in one area and put on displays to attract females. Females selectively choose among the males present for traits they find more appealing. Male grouse exhibit two types: typical lekking and exploded lekking. In typical lekking, males display in small areas defending a limited territory, and in exploded lekking, displaying males are covered over an expansive land area and share larger territories. Male grouse can also compete with one another for access to female grouse through territoriality, in which a male defends a territory which has resources that females need, like food and nest sites. These differences in male behavior in mating systems account for the evolution of body size in grouse. Males of territorial species were smaller than those of exploded lekking species, and males of typical lekking species were the largest overall. The male birds that exhibit lekking behavior, and have to compete with other males for females to choose them, have greater sexual dimorphism in size. This suggests the hypothesis of sexual selection affecting male body size and also gives an explanation for why some species of grouse have a more drastic difference between male and female body size than others.
Contrast with other bird species
Sexual size dimorphism can manifest itself differently between grouse and other birds. In some cases, the female is
Sexual size dimorphism can manifest itself differently between grouse and other birds. In some cases, the female is dominant over the male in breeding behavior, which can result in females that are larger than the males.
Grouse are Grouse are game, and hunters kill millions each year for food, sport, and other uses. In the United Kingdom, this takes the form of driven grouse shooting. The male black grouse's tail feathers are a traditional ornament for hats in areas such as Scotland and the Alps. Folk dances from the Alps to the North American prairies imitate the displays of lekking males.