Ruffed Grouse

Bonasa umbellus

Order

GALLIFORMES

Family

Partridges, Grouse, Turkeys, Old World Quail (Phasianidae)

Code 4

RUGR

Code 6

BONUMB

ITIS

ILLUSTRATION

ask community
Copyright © 2004 - 2017 Mitch Waite Group

PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Ruffed Grouse is a medium bird found in the forests of the Appalachian Mountains in Canada and Alaska. This species is non-migratory, meaning it is a permanent, year-round resident of its natural habitat. The Ruffed Grouse is frequently called the “Partridge”. These birds prefer areas of aspen and mixed woodlands. Food is found by foraging on the ground, and diets consist of plant buds, leaves, berries, seeds and insects. Most of the Ruffed Grouse’s time is spent on the ground. This species is also commonly hunted in North America. The conservation rating for the Ruffed Grouse is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Ruffed Grouse: Medium-sized grouse with crested head and scaled brown upperparts. White underparts have pale brown bars on breast and dark brown bars on belly and flanks. Sides of neck have black ruff. The tail is brown with fine, white bars and white-edged dark band at tip. Northern form is grayer.

 

Range and Habitat

Ruffed Grouse: Resident from the tree line in Alaska and northern Canada south to California, Wyoming, Minnesota, and the Carolinas; also found in the Appalachians to Georgia. Declining in the East. Preferred habitat includes overgrown pastures and deciduous and mixed forests, especially those with scattered clearings and dense undergrowth.

whatbird search for your browser

Ruffed Grouse SONGS AND CALLS

Ruffed Grouse A1

Distraction squeals from a female.

Ruffed Grouse A2

Male drumming display is caused by his wings beating back and forth.

Similar Sounding


Voice Text

"quit-quit"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • Male Ruffed Grouse cup their wings and rapidly beat them against the air. Native people called it the “carpenter bird” because they thought the sound was made by beating its wings against a log.
  • Their population numbers cycle every 8-11 years with respect to population numbers of their predators—the fox, Northern Goshawk and Great Horned Owl.
  • This state bird of Pennsylvania is well-adapted for winter with lateral extensions of the scales on their toes almost like snowshoes.
  • A group of grouse has many collective nouns, including a "chorus", "covey", "drumming", "grumbling", and "leash" of grouse.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP NORTH AMERICA

About this North America Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across North America.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Yury Lisyak

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

.
UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
BellyX
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
BreastX
The upper front part of a bird.
RuffX
A fringe of feather growth on the neck of a male bird used in courtship displays.
ChestX
Also called the breast area, it is the frontal area on the body containing the breastplate and major flight muscles.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X