Image of the Month March 2024: Western Capercaillie

Photographer: Adam Riley   Destination: Georgia

Europe, despite being the second smallest continent, holds its own amongst birding destinations with over 900 species of birds in a variety of scenic habitats, from magnificent mountain ranges, arctic volcanic landscapes, and an excellent selection of forests, to the dreamy Mediterranean.


Finland hosts one of Europe's most outlandish species, the Western Capercaillie! This species is the largest member of the grouse family and shows extreme sexual dimorphism, with males being twice the size of females. Poor fliers due to their size, they will make a loud thundering noise when taking off to deter predators. Found across Eurasia in old coniferous forests, their feathered legs and their toe tracks with elongated horn tacks help them adapt to the cold and snow.

This fantastic photograph captured by Adam Riley shows the male demonstrating his well-known mating display where he postures himself with fanned tail feathers, wings held out, neck erect, and beak pointed upwards while making a series of clicking and popping calls to attract females. How amazing to see this in the wild!

Our selection of tours below covers an array of Europe's hottest birding hotspots! With far too many species of interest to mention here, just a few gems would be the likes of Bearded Reedling, Great & Little Bustards, Güldenstädt's Redstart, Wallcreeper, Rock Ptarmigan, King Eider, Razorbill, Caucasian Snowcock, Great Grey, Ural, Northern Hawk, Boreal, Eurasian Pygmy and Short-eared Owls.