Grouse are now divided into three species: willow grouse, rock grouse and white-tailed grouse. They are all specialised at living in a cold climate and on heaths and open mountainside, but in the winter they move down to forested areas. Grouse nest in Arctic regions and the mountains of Eurasia ad North America.
The grouse is a medium-sized bird with a round body, long neck, small head and a short, wide beak. They have feathered legs and toes and a short tail. All grouse, apart from the British willow grouse, are characterised by white winter plumage. They live in pairs, mainly on the ground where they search for their food – mainly seeds, young leaves, buds and berries.
Grouse hunting is mainly carried out in the mountain and, at the start of the twentieth century, was still important for survival in the Swedish mountains. Snares used to be used to catch them, but now hunting is primarily conducted using dogs and can be done in the autumn and winter. Winter hunting is often stalking with a rifle. Shotguns are used when hunting with dogs and the birds are shot at a relatively short range.