Ruffed Grouse: Medium-sized grouse with crested head and scaled brown upperparts. White underparts have pale brown bars on breast and dark brown bars on belly and flanks. Sides of neck have black ruff. The tail is brown with fine, white bars and white-edged dark band at tip. Northern form is grayer.
Range and Habitat
Ruffed Grouse: Resident from the tree line in Alaska and northern Canada south to California, Wyoming, Minnesota, Missouri, and the Carolinas; also found in the Appalachians to Georgia. Preferred habitat includes overgrown pastures and deciduous and mixed forests, especially those with scattered clearings and dense undergrowth.
Male Ruffed Grouse cup their wings and rapidly beat them against the air. Native people called it the “carpenter bird” because they thought the sound was made by beating its wings against a log.
Their population numbers cycle every 8-11 years with respect to population numbers of their predators—the fox, Northern Goshawk and Great Horned Owl.
This state bird of Pennsylvania is well-adapted for winter with lateral extensions of the scales on their toes almost like snowshoes.
A group of grouse has many collective nouns, including a "chorus", "covey", "drumming", "grumbling", and "leash" of grouse.
The Ruffed Grouse is a medium bird found in the forests of the Appalachian Mountains in Canada and Alaska. This species is non-migratory, meaning it is a permanent, year-round resident of its natural habitat. The Ruffed Grouse is frequently called the “Partridge”. These birds prefer areas of aspen and mixed woodlands. Food is found by foraging on the ground, and diets consist of plant buds, leaves, berries, seeds and insects. Most of the Ruffed Grouse’s time is spent on the ground. This species is also commonly hunted in North America. The conservation rating for the Ruffed Grouse is Least Concern.