Capercaillie courtship

Admiring the courtship of capercaillies is magical! Do you want to experience this from close by? Around 6 pm your guide will join you to the leking area where male capercaillies court. As you zip up the portable tent and make yourself comfortable inside, it’s time to lie down and listen to the sounds of the forest around you. Robins, thrushes and dunnocks are singing vividly. After that, it doesn’t take long for the first capercaillies to land in the treetops around your tent, where they will spend the night. Now it is extremely important to be quiet and calm so that you don’t scare the birds. If they are not disturbed, they might put on a fantastic show for you tomorrow morning. Perhaps you will fall asleep to the vibrating song of the Boreal owl and be awakened by the whistling of a Pygmy owl. At that point, it is time to get ready and locate the capercaillies in the treetops around you. Soon they will descend to the ground and move around with their tails fanned as they utter their equally harsh sounds and surprisingly fine tunes. You will then witness a great spectacle!

You will do this!

  • Spend the night in a camouflage tent in the forest
  • Be awakened by the song of numerous bird species
  • Observe the spectacular courtship of the capercaillie
  • Enjoy good food and drinks while waiting

BE AWARE! Photographing the capercaillie lek is one of the most difficult challenges for a wildlife photographer. These birds are far more shy than black grouse and also less predictable when it comes to the choice of their leking site. Their behavior is also highly dependent on their hypersensitivity to wind and disturbance, so we ask you to have realistic expectations. The first attempt of photographing the capercaillie lek is not always successful. However, the guides work hard to increase your chances of success. The more sessions you book, the higher your success rate will be. And don’t forget: your own behavior is crucial for a successful session!

Practical information

For whom: This activity is only suited for the very patient and dedicated photographer or bird watcher. It is a real challenge but also a magical experience to admire the courtship of the capercaillie from close by.

Period: The mating season of the capercaillie varies greatly from year to year and is highly dependent on the climate and the temperatures. Usually this activity is bookable from the beginning of April to the beginning of May. The most successful period is the 2nd half of April. Even after the mating season, the males might stay around for a few more weeks, depending on their hormone levels. The females start laying eggs after having mated several times. Because the courtship period varies so much, it is recommended not to let your trip depend on this activity alone.

Time: You will be guided to your tent around 6 pm and will stay inside your tent until late morning of the next day. You only leave your tent once the courtship is over, so as not to disturb the capercaillies.

Meeting point: Skultuna (Västmanland): the exact location will be announced when booking.

Accessibility: The guide will accompany you across the bog to the portable hide (a few hundred meters of hiking). Waterproof boots are a must!

Price: 2850 SEK / person: the price includes guidance to your tent, a simple evening meal including hot drinks, snacks and breakfast. In the tent you have an inflatable mat and a warm sleeping bag with cotton liners at your disposal.

To bring along: Warm clothing (layers), suitable warm and waterproof boots, camera on tripod, binoculars, headlamp, bottle of water and something to read.

Booking: Contact me via e-mail or by phone +46 (0)70 230 68 70

This activity takes place in the wild, meaning that although you will be visiting the location where these animals live, no guarantees can be given as to what you will get to see/photograph.