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Spruce Grouse Falcipennis canadensis (Dendragapus canadensis)


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Spruce Grouse, male
credit: Mdf/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Alternate name: Fool Hen

Family: Phasianidae, Pheasants and Grouse view all from this family

Description ADULT MALE Has mainly dark brown plumage; white feather edges create scaly appearance, particularly on belly and flanks. Breast and neck are mainly black; black throat is defined by white border. Red wattles above both eyes are striking in display. Taiga subspecies have dark tail with rufous terminal band. "Franklin's" has uniformly dark tail, with white tips to upper tail coverts. ADULT FEMALE Either mainly gray or brown, with dark scaling above and white spots on belly. JUVENILE Similar to brown morph female.

Dimensions Length: 15-17" (38-43 cm)

Habitat Fairly common in dense, young conifer forests.

Observation Tips Tame, often allowing close approach; camouflaged plumage makes it hard to spot initially.

Range Rocky Mountains, Plains, New England, Northwest, Western Canada, Eastern Canada, Alaska, Mid-Atlantic, Great Lakes

Voice Mostly silent.

Discussion Beautifully marked, well-camouflaged grouse. Two forms exist: represented in east by taiga forms (comprising several subspecies); ssp. franklinii ("Franklin's Grouse") occurs in west, from Cascades and Rockies. Feeds on conifer shoots and needles, and berries. Sexes are dissimilar.