Grazing by mountain hares Lepus timidus L., red deer Cervus elaphus L. and red grouse Lagopus l. scoticus on heather moorland in north-east Scotland.
Mountain hares had a similar pattern of feeding throughout the year on a rich moor overlying base-rich rocks where hares were abundant and a poor moor overlying acidic granite where there were few hares. At the poor moor, hares preferred pioneer to building or mature heather (Calluna vulgaris) and numbers of droppings on sample sites were inversely correlated with the height of heather. At the rich moor, where there were more hares, there was no difference between classes of heather, although pioneer heather was usually preferred. Red deer used mostly mature heather at both moors. The numbers of droppings on sample sites at the poor moor were positively correlated with the height of heather. Grouse used mostly building and mature heather. The stomach contents of mountain hares contained less N and P in spring than a similar sample in autumn. The stomach contents of female hares in Mar. contained more N and P than did those of males.