We studied microsatellite genetic variation in 14 different geographic populations of black grouse (Tetrao tetrix) across the European range. Populations were grouped in three different fragmentation categories: isolated, contiguous and continuous, respectively. Genetic diversity, measured as observed heterozygosity (H O), expected heterozygosity (H E) and allelic richness, were lower in isolated populations as compared to the other two categories that did not differ amongst one another. These results imply that lowered genetic variability in black grouse populations is negatively affected by population isolation. Our results suggest that the connectivity of small and isolated populations in Western Europe should be improved or else these face an increased risk of extinction due to genetic and demographic stochasticity.