Belongs to: deer

Compare with: fallow deer

Red deer Cervus elaphus

Best time to see: all year

Key facts

Our largest native deer

Habitat: forest, woodland, moorland

Widespread across Scotland and northern Europe; less numerous in England and other parts of Europe


Reddish brown in summer and greyer in winter; male has large branched antlers; up to 1.2 m at the shoulder

Lives in groups or, on moorland, herds, ranging widely; hoofprints 8 cm droppings up to 3 cm

Mostly browse on twigs, leaves and shoots up to 1.5 m; can cause serious damage to woods and crops


Dominant male defends a harem of females

One calf each year in early summer

Male makes a belching roar when in rut, i.e. in the mating season

© Alan Williams