Ruffed Grouse is the most widespread and common grouse, and can be found
throughout much of Canada, the extreme northern U.S., and higher elevations in
the U.S. An extremely low-pitched "drumming" sound is given by the male in
spring, and can be heard over half a mile away. Two color morphs exist,
the more common gray morph, and the red morph (which is found primarily in the
Appalachians, and the Pacific Northwest).
Habitat: Can be found in a variety of
forest types, but generally prefers mixed forests of conifer (for shelter) and
deciduous (for foraging). On occasion they can be found in pure conifer
Diet: The majority of the diet is plant material,
including seeds, berries, leaves, buds, flowers, and fresh shoots.
They will also eat insects, spiders, snails, and occasionally small reptiles
Behavior: Will forage on the ground, in shrubs, or
even high in trees. They can often be quite tame.
Nesting: May through July
Migration: A semi-permanent resident, with birds making short moves between more open
areas during breeding season to denser cover in the winter.
Similar Species: Blue
Grouse, Spruce Grouse.
Ruffed Grouse are most likely to be confused with females of these two species,
as the males are more distinct.
Conservation Status: Generally stable throughout its range,
with natural local population fluctuation.
Cornell Lab of Ornithology - Ruffed Grouse
Photo Information: December 14th, 2005 - Sax-Zim
Bog in Minnesota - Terry Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Ruffed Grouse photos.