Ruffed Grouse

Bonasa umbellus




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

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Buff, sometimes lightly spotted with brown

Number of Eggs:

8 - 14

Incubation Days:

21 - 28

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

Usually near tree trunk.

Nest Material:

Lined with small sticks, pine needles, leaves, and feathers.





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. Tail is brown with fine, white bars and white-edged dark band at tip. Northern form is grayer. Sexes are similar.

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.

Breeding and Nesting

Ruffed Grouse: Eight to fourteen buff eggs, sometimes with brown spots, are laid in a shallow depression lined with leaves and concealed under a bush. Incubation period ranges from 21 to 28 days and is carried out by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Ruffed Grouse: Feeds on forbs, fruits, and insects; eats mostly buds and catkins of aspens, birches, cherries, ironwood, and filberts when snow covers the ground.


Ruffed Grouse: Female gives soft hen-like clucks. In spring, displaying male sits on a log and beats the air with wings, creating a drumming sound that increases rapidly in tempo.

Similar Species

Ruffed Grouse: Spruce Grouse is darker lacks dark subterminal tail band.


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.
A fringe of feather growth on the neck of a male bird used in courtship displays.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X