Capercaillie Male The Capercaillie LIFE Project
Forest fencing
Forest mist



This is the website of the LIFE Nature Project:

"Urgent Conservation Management for Scottish Capercaillie"

This was a partnership project and aimed to halt the decline of Scottish Capercaillie and improve their breeding success.


General Background

During the 1980's and 1990's there was a dramatic decline in the number of Capercaillie in Scotland. This has continued into the 21st Century and at their lowest Capercaillie numbers dropped below 1000 birds. This project aimed at reducing mortality and improving the breeding success of the Scottish Capercaillie thus reversing the decline in numbers.

There are many reasons for the decline in Capercaillie in Scotland, this project attempted to deal with those identified as being most prominent. There are other factors, such as climate change, which are expected to have an affect on the success of Capercaillie but that are out with our influence and the remit of the project. Through the work of this project we would hope to improve and expand the areas of good capercaillie habitat as well as improving peoples understanding of this special bird and how their actions, or inaction, can effect Capercaillie.

The outline target is to achieve a population of over 5000 birds, by 2010. This will give a far more sustainable and robust population, which will be in a better position to cope with external influences than the fragile population which exists at present.  Whether or not this target is reached, the project has undoubtedly had a significant impact both quality & availability of capercaillie habitat and in enabling sharing of knowledge and experience of managing forests for capercaillie.



The Capercaillie LIFE Project Statistics

  • Life of the project - From 1st February 2002 to 31st January 2007

  • Total value of the project - 4.5 Million

  • Total area covered by the project - over 40,000 Ha

  • Total contribution from the European Commission - 2.3 Million