Spruce Grouse

Dendragus canadensis

Photo: Nancy Turner

Spruce Grouse

Appearance

Male spruce grouse are brown, have a black patch on their breast, and have a black and white tail. They often have a red skin patch above the eye. Females are mottled brown. The average length of a spruce grouse is 33 centimetres.

Range & Habitat

They are common in spruce and subalpine forests. They like trees more than other grouse and will immediately fly into one if they sense danger. Spruce grouse don’t migrate.

Diet & Behaviour

Spruce grouse eat mostly spruce needles, which is unusual for animals. They will also dine on berries, seeds, mushrooms, ferns and insects.

Lifecycle & Threats

The males will hoot to attract a female. They nest in mid-spring, using a hidden nest on the ground. Females lay seven or eight eggs that will hatch in 24 days. The chicks leave the nest right away to feed and can fly after one week. They are an easy target for hunters, since they fly into trees at eye level when startled.

Status

COSEWIC: Not at Risk
CDC: Yellow

More Information

www.allaboutbirds.org

Photo: North60