Dusky Grouse

Dendragapus obscurus




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

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Pink buff, with small brown spots

Number of Eggs:

7 - 16

Incubation Days:

26 - 25

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

Sheltered by log or rock, near the base of tree.

Nest Material:

Conifer needles, grasses, and leaves.





Dusky Grouse: Large, chicken-like bird, dark gray to blue-gray plumage, red-orange eye combs, black squared tail with narrow pale gray terminal band. Patch of violet-red skin on neck surrounded by white feathers is displayed during courtship. Female is brown mottled with gray underparts, and lacks eye combs and air sacs.

Range and Habitat

Dusky Grouse: This species occurs as a resident from the Yukon and Northwest Territories, through much of British Columbia, and south through the Rocky Mountains to Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico. Its preferred habitats include burned areas, montane forests, slashes, and subalpine forest clearings.

Breeding and Nesting

Dusky Grouse: Seven to sixteen pink buff eggs, usually spotted brown, are laid in a ground scrape lined with pine needles and grass, usually sheltered by a stump or rock. Incubation ranges from 25 to 26 days and is carried out by the female. Precocial young leave nest soon after hatching.

Foraging and Feeding

Dusky Grouse: Feeds almost exclusively on conifer needles during winter. In spring, summer, and fall, diet shifts to insects, spiders, salal berries, snowberries, red huckleberry fruit, and fern tips; forages on the ground.


Dusky Grouse: Male gives a series of deep hoots "whoop, whoop, whoop, whoop, whoop", that can rarely be heard beyond 100 feet.

Similar Species

Dusky Grouse: Spruce Grouse has white bars on breast, barred back, and brown terminal tail band.


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

Terminal bandX
Refers to the contrasting stripe at the tip of the tail.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X