Ruffed Grouse

Ruffed Grouse

Bonasa umbellus

Least Concern

The Ruffed Grouse, often referred locally to as a 'Partridge', is a charismatic woodland bird known for its richly colored, intricately patterned feathers. Found across the forests of North America, these solitary birds are most recognized for their distinctive drumming sound, a hallmark of spring in their native habitats.

Appearance and Identification

Primary Color

Brown

Primary Color (female)

Brown

Primary Color (juvenile)

Brown

Secondary Colors

Black, White

Secondary Colors (female)

Black, White

Secondary Colors (juvenile)

Black, White

Secondary Colors (seasonal)

Wing Color

Brown

Wing Color (female)

Brown

Wing Color (juvenile)

Brown

Beak Type

Short

Beak Color

Dark Brown

Beak Color (female)

Grey

Beak Color (juvenile)

Grey

Leg Color

Grey

Leg Color (female)

Grey

Leg Color (juvenile)

Grey

Distinctive Markings

Crest on head, black ruffs on neck

Distinctive Markings (female)

Smaller ruffs, less vivid coloration

Distinctive Markings (juvenile)

Smaller ruffs, less vivid coloration

Tail Description

Broad, square with a black band

Tail Description (female)

Broad, square with a black band

Tail Description (juvenile)

Broad, square with a black band

Size Metrics

40cm to 50cm

Length

50cm to 64cm

Wingspan

450g to 750g

Weight

Photos

Click on an image below to see the full-size version

Vocalization and Sounds

Primary Calls

Drumming sound, soft cooing

Call Description

Drumming produced by beating wings, cooing often heard during courtship

Alarm Calls

Short, sharp peeps

Behavior and Social Structure

Daily Activities

Forages during the day, rests at night

Social Habits

Solitary outside of breeding season

Territorial Behavior

Males defend territories during breeding season

Migratory Patterns

Non-migratory

Interaction with Other Species

Generally solitary, occasionally interacts with other grouse

Diet

Primary Diet

Leaves, Buds, Berries

Feeding Habits

Forages on ground and in trees

Feeding Times

Morning and evening

Prey Capture Method

Pecking and scratching

Diet Variations

Diet varies seasonally, includes insects in summer

Special Dietary Needs (if any)

None known

Nesting

Nesting Location

On the ground in dense vegetation

Nest Construction

Shallow depression lined with plant material

Breeding Season

Spring

Number of clutches (per breeding season)

One

Egg Appearance

Creamy white or buff, somewtimes with brown or reddish speckles

Egg Size

Approximately 3cm x 4cm

Clutch Characteristics

9-14 eggs

Incubation Period

23-24 days

Fledgling Period

1-2 days, but will stay with female for up to 15 weeks

Parental Care

Female provides all care

Distribution and Habitat

Geographic Range

North America, from Alaska to Appalachian Mountains

Habitat Description

Forests and wooded areas

Elevation Range

Sea level to 3000m

Migration Patterns

Non-migratory

Biome

Temperate Forest

Climate zones

Temperate

Distribution Map

Please note, this range and distribution map is a high-level overview, and doesn't break down into specific regions and areas of the countries.

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