The bird, native to Scotland, and though to have once roamed Ireland has seen its population half in the past twenty years.
Numbers have decreased dramatically from 2200 down to 1114 since the 1990's, as reported by the guardian. It is the world's largest type of grouse, and it has been placed on the red list of endangered species in Scotland. This though is not the first time the species has faced difficulties, with a reintroduction necessary back in the 1830's. Species of the bird were reintroduced from Sweden, though their habitat is restricted to forests in Strathspey in Scotland. They usually dwell in coniferous and deciduous areas, and feed on buds and plant shoots.
Reasons behind falling numbers:
There are many reasons behind the populations recent decreases. These include the changing climate, predation, hunting, increased buildings, increased interest in outdoor sports and also deer fence collisions. The bird is also very susceptible to worms, leading to many deaths within the species.
Their breeding is greatly affected by wet and erratic weather conditions, and also means they have a depleted food supply for which to feed.
Reintroduction into Ireland?:
The bird is rumoured to have been an original resident of Irish forests, estimated to be hundreds of years ago. Will this result in its reintroduction here? Alex Copland, of Birdwatch Ireland, confirmed though that it is "impossible to know" if the bird currently resides here still.
"The likelihood is that there is none, and never have been any" he said, adding that the Irish climate is just "a bit too wet".
"There is no evidence to suggest the Capercaillie ever resided in Ireland, and as far as I know there are no plans to introduce it", He added.
He said the closest breed to the Capercaillie on our shores is the Red Grouse.
"The red grouse is a distinct subspecies, and it is debatable if the species is a pure bred red grouse species", Alex said.
This, he said, is because of people, hunters etc, introducing british breeds of the bird in a bid to boost numbers, which he says has tainted their blood line.
Other Species set for Introduction:
There has been talk recently in the UK about the potential reintroduction of the Lynx, the Wolf, and even the brown bear.
The Wildlife Trust in the UK have made calls for the reintroduction of these native species in a bid to cull the ever growing deer population. They are currently testing wolves, introduced on their site in Escot, and are examining the wolves natural behaviours in a bid to see if the reintroduction would be successful. They plan to have the lynx back on british shores within a decade after a 1400 year absence, and the wolf and bear within 50 years.
The move comes as deer populations have reached a staggering 1.5 million, causing 50,000 traffic accidents and influencing the death of 20 people. The Wildlife Trust have already successfully brought back the beaver, pine martins, domice and water voles.
There has also been talk around Ireland within the last few years, again calling for the wolf to be introduced. Experts say the wolf would help cull deer species in areas such as Wicklow, and they hope it would have a beneficial impact on the ecosystem just as it had when reintroduced in Yellowstone park.
Nothing has come of the calls as of yet, but who's to say it might not occur in the not so distant future.