Patons Butchers Largs

The Haggis

Lagopus Idioticus Rex

The Haggis is Britain's rarest bird and is so named because of its habit of nesting in peat haggis. Specially protected, it is now found only in the Parish of Crathie and Braemar.

It feeds on the Alpine Ice Worn (Lumbricus Alpinus Scotus), which its catches by walking on the Eternal Snow Beds, scratching with its near side foot.

Over the centuries, this habit, along with the fact that the bird is always on steeply sloping ground, has led to a grotesque over-development of the near side leg and foot, so that the poor Haggis can no longer turn round or stand on level ground.

Once a national delicacy, the haggis was so over-hunted that is was eventually declared a Royal bird, to be killed and eaten only by members of the Scottish Royal Family.

During the lifetime of Robert Burns, in an attempt to save the still declining stock, the delicious pudding bearing the same name was introduced as a substitute delicacy. Burns, a keen conservationist, wrote his famous poem: "To a Haggis", and is now considered to have saved the Haggis bird from certain extinction.

The breeding stock is very closely monitored and on 1st April each year, Braemar Mountain Rescue team reports direct to the Secretary of State for Scotland on the number of breeding pairs and eggs laid.

Patons Butchers Largs