Copercaillie – the rooster and the hens – can easily be differentiated by their size
and colouration. The male bird (or rooster) is much bigger than the female (or hen). Rooster typically range from 74 to 85 cm (29 to 35 inches) in length with a wingspan of 9o to 125 cm (34-49 inches) and an average weight of 6.7 kg (15 lbs).
The wild rooster can attain a length of 100 cm (39 inches) and a weight of 6.7 kg (rs lbs). The body feathers are coloured dark grey to dark brown, while the breast feathers are dark metallic green. The belly and undertail coverts vary from black to white depending on race.
The hen is much smaller, weighing about half as much as the rooster. The hen’s body from beak to tail is approximately 54-64 cm (21-25 inches) long, the wingspan is 70 cm (28 inches) and weighs 1.5-2.5 kg (3.3-5.5 lbs). Feathers on the upper parts are brown with black and silver barring, on the underside they are more light and buffish-yellow.
Both sexes have a white spot on the wing bow. They have feathered legs, especially in the cold season for protection against cold. Their toe rows of small, elongated horn tacks provide a snowshoe effect that led to the German family name
“RauhfuBhuhner”, literally translated as “rough feet chickens”.
These so called “courting tacks” make a clear track in the snow in winter. Both sexes can be distinguished very easily by the size of their footprints.
There is a bright red spot of naked skin above each eye. In German hunters’ language, these are the so-called “roses”.