The 'famous' grouse of whisky bottles and rich man's 'sport', the Red Grouse bird is slightly larger than the Ptarmigan and retains dark brown wings throughout the year. Both sexes are similar in general colouration, the red grouse bird (male) being a deeper rusty-rufous brown all over, subtly marked with darker bars and blotches; it also has a red wattle over the eye and the tail is blackish. The (red grouse bird) female is a lighter, tawnier shade, showing more fine plumage detail in buff and black and lacking the red wattle. Both sexes show whitish leg feathering, a sure distinction from the superficially similar female Black Grouse.
Red grouse bird favours upland moorland, rich in Heather Calluna vulgaris, which provides it with a year-round food supply. It is sedentary and strongly tied to this habitat, so rarely found away from it. Red grouse bird normally avoids forest, although can be found in more grassy areas. The form L. lagopus scoticus is endemic to the British Isles and is considered to be just one of fifteen or more subspecies of the circumpolar Willow Grouse. It is frequently found on particular 'grouse moors', where stocks are maintained for shooting, watched over by territorial gamekeepers!
The display call of red grouse bird (male) is given in a short display flight, with a quick flapping ascent when he calls "eow", followed by a glide down, calling "kakakakakakarrrrr" on the descent, alternatively transcribed as "eow-rka'rka'rka'rka'rka'ak'ak'ak'ak". Red grouse bird continues the call on the ground with a "koWah-koWah-koWah-koWah", which can last for several seconds. A version of this sound is given when a bird is flushed. Other call given from the ground include a "kokokokokokgrrrrrrrr" and a loud cackling "k'bow k'bow k'bow..." or "go-bak-go-bak-go-bak...". The female has a range of short, quieter calls.