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Temporal range: Early Pliocene to recent
Tetrao urogallus Richard Bartz.jpg
Western capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Family: Phasianidae
Tribe: Tetraonini
Genus: Tetrao
Linnaeus, 1758
Type species
Tetrao urogallus
Linnaeus, 1758

Tetrao urogalloides
Tetrao urogallus

Tetrao is a genus of birds in the grouse subfamily known as capercaillies. They are some of the largest living grouse.


The genus Tetrao was introduced in 1758 by the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus in the tenth edition of his Systema Naturae.[1] The genus name is the Latin word for a game bird, probably a black grouse.[2] The black grouse was included by Linnaeus in the genus Tetrao but is now placed in the genus Lyrurus.[1][3] The type species was designated as the western capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) by George Robert Gray in 1840.[4][5]


The genus contains two species:[3]

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
David Palmer Capercaillie.jpg Tetrao urogallus Western capercaillie Europe to western Russia
Tetrao urogalloides.jpg Tetrao urogalloides Black-billed capercaillie eastern Russia as well as parts of northern Mongolia and China

The fossil record of this genus is extensive:


  1. ^ a b Linnaeus, Carl (1758). Systema Naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis (in Latin). Vol. 1 (10th ed.). Holmiae (Stockholm): Laurentii Salvii. p. 159.
  2. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 383. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  3. ^ a b Gill, Frank; Donsker, David; Rasmussen, Pamela, eds. (July 2021). "Pheasants, partridges, francolins". IOC World Bird List Version 11.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  4. ^ Gray, George Robert (1840). A List of the Genera of Birds : with an Indication of the Typical Species of Each Genus. London: R. and J.E. Taylor. p. 62.
  5. ^ Peters, James Lee, ed. (1934). Check-List of Birds of the World. Vol. 2. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. p. 24.