Black Grouse – 1894

Tetrao tetrix

We cannot say how long ago the Black Grouse ceased to exist as an indigenous bird in the county. Mr. Dix states that he had heard of a few in the neighbourhood of Fishguard, but he certainly referred to those the late Mr. Barham turned down at Trecwn in his attempt to naturalize the birds upon his beautiful estate. However, the birds never nested, and soon wandered away, and were all shot down.

We have never met with a sportsman who had ever shot a Black Grouse in the county, and only a few and limited localities in it are suited to the bird. The Black Grouse has disappeared, apparently, from several districts in South Wales, where it was once common.

Its former abundance is supposed to be attested by the number of inns scattered about, bearing the sign of the “Black Cock.” This may either witness to the presence of the bird, or only to its heraldic representative, as the Black Cock is the old crest of the Mathew family, at one time owners of large estates in various parts of South Wales, just as numerous inns standing on what was once their property, still bear the sign of the “a Black Lion,” from the three rampant black lions that are on their shield.

In the summer of 1878, Mr. Edward Laws, of Tenby, and Professor Rolleston, of Oxford, discovered bones of the Black Grouse in the Longbury Bank Cave, near Tenby.

Mathew M.A. 1894, Birds of Pembrokeshire and its Islands

More about the Black Grouse in Pembrokeshire