The black grouse (Tetrao tetrix) is a galliform bird species that is important forboth ecological studies and conservation genetics. Here, we report the sequencing of the spleen transcriptome of black grouse using 454 GS FLX Titanium sequencing. We performed a large-scale gene discovery analysis with a focus on genes that might be related to fitness in this species and also identified a large set of microsatellites. In total, we obtained 182 179 quality-filtered sequencing reads that we assembled into 9035 contigs. Using these contigs and 15 794 length-filtered (greater than 200 bp) singletons, we identified 7762 transcripts that appear to be homologues of chicken genes. A specific BLAST search with an emphasis on immune genes found 308 homologous chicken genes that have immune function, including ten major histocompatibility complex-related genes located on chicken chromosome 16. We also identified 1300 expressed sequence tag microsatellites and were able to design suitable flanking primers for 526 of these. A preliminary test of the polymorphism of the microsatellites found 10 polymorphic microsatellites of the 102 tested. Genomic resources generated in this study should greatly benefit future ecological, evolutionary and conservation genetic studies on this species.