Spruce Grouse

Falcipennis canadensis




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

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Buff to pink or light brown with brown marks

Number of Eggs:

5 - 10

Incubation Days:

21 - 24

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

On ground near base of a tree or in shrub.

Nest Material:

Grass, conifer needles, leaves, feathers





Spruce Grouse: Medium-sized grouse of northern coniferous and boreal forests with finely barred, dark gray-brown upperparts and black underparts showing white bars on breast and white chevrons on sides and belly. Throat is white-bordered black; eye combs are red. Tail is either black with fine white spots near base (Franklin's) or black with rufous-brown tip (Tiaga). Female is much duller, either rufous-brown (Franklin's) or gray-brown (Tiaga), with strong barring on underparts.

Range and Habitat

Spruce Grouse: Resident found in coniferous forests of extreme northern U.S., throughout boreal forests of Alaska and much of Canada, from Yukon south to British Columbia and east to Newfoundland and Labrador. Prefers dense pine forests of early to mid-successional stages. Also found in spruce forests.

Breeding and Nesting

Spruce Grouse: Monogamous. Nest is a scrape or depression on the ground often at the base of a conifer. Female lays five to ten brown marked, buff to pink or light brown eggs and incubates for 21 to 24 days. Precocial young leave the nest as soon as they are dry, return to female to brood frequently at at night. Young stay with female for 10 to 15 weeks.

Foraging and Feeding

Spruce Grouse: Majority of diet made up of conifer needles, particularly pine needles. Also feeds on a variety of herbaceous plants, leaves, and flowers. Occasionally takes insects.


Spruce Grouse: Male song a series of soft hoots "whuh whuh whuh whuh" and " cow cow cacacaca." Males also drum on leks. "Sreep" and "heep" calls between adults and young.

Similar Species

Spruce Grouse: Ruffed Grouse is larger, has a small crest, dark subterminal tail band, and dark patch on side of neck. Male lacks red eye comb.


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

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
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.
The upper front part of a bird.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X