Ruffed Grouse - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Ruffed Grouse - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Ruffed Grouse - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Ruffed Grouse - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image  
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Ruffed Grouse
Bonasa umbellus

Grouse-like Birds
Grouse Family (Phasianidae)

Size: Length: 38-48 cm

Description: The ruffed grouse occurs in two colour phases. The reddish phase has an overall red-brown tinge, while the gray phase lacks the red tint. In either case, they have a small crest on the head, and either a mottled red-brown or gray head, back, wings, rump and tail. The breast is lighter, with red-brown or grayish banding. The tail is fan shaped, with alternate bands of red-brown or gray and black. There is a thick black band near the tip. There may be a patch of soft black feathers around the shoulder which form the 'ruff' which gives this bird its name.

Females are similar to the males, but are smaller, and have a less prominent ruff. On the tail, the two central feathers may lack the banding, creating an incomplete band.

Similar Species: Female spruce grouse similar, but lack the crest, and banded tail of the ruffed grouse. The sharp-tailed grouse lacks the ruff. It also has a wedge shaped tail rather than the fan-shaped tail of the ruffed grouse.

Range: The ruffed grouse is found throughout most of Canada and the northern United States. It is common throughout the Canadian and northern American Rockies. It is uncommon in Yellowstone, and rare farther south.

Habitat: Look for the ruffed grouse in second growth forest, and stands of mixed-wood. It is less common in old growth.

Diet: They search the ground and litter for seeds, berries, willow catkins and terrestrial insects.

Nesting: The nest is on the ground, usually well concealed at the base of a tree, stump or rock. The nest is usually quite simple, a rough mass of leaves and needles lining a shallow scraping. The female lays between 7 and 12 eggs, and incubates the eggs without help from the male. The precocial young hatch after 23-24 days and leave the nest within a few hours. They can fly after only 10-12 days, but the brood will stick together for up to three months.

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All Material Ward Cameron 2005

 

 

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