Ruffed Grouse

The Ruffed Grouse is a medium sized with brown and gray barring on the breast and overall grayish brown coloration. Adults have a short brown crest on their head. Males will ruff their black neck feathers during mating display.
SCIENTIFIC NAME
Bonasa umbellus
CLASSIFICATION
Bird
LIFE SPAN
1-11 Years
SIZE
15-19 ” | 0.94-1.6 lbs
STATE CONSERVATION STATUS
  • State Protected
FEDERAL CONSERVATION STATUS
Least Concern
GAME STATUS
Game
GAME TYPE
Upland Game
  1. Washoe
  2. Humboldt
  3. Pershing
  4. Churchill
  5. Mineral
  6. Lyon
  7. Douglas
  8. Carson City
  9. Storey
  1. Elko
  2. Lander
  3. Eureka
  4. White Pine
  1. Esmeralda
  2. Nye
  3. Lincoln
  4. Clark

Habitat & Range

Ruffed Grouse can be found in mixed-age forests and some early successional forests where younger trees provide cover and food

  • Alpine forests of the Sierras
  • Pinyon juniper forests

Threats

  • Habitat Loss
  • Wildfires

Natural History

Ruffed Grouse are heavily herbivorous, with only a small portion of their diet consisting of insects and invertebrates. They rely on the soft fruits and acorns of woody plants during the fall to prepare for winter. Male Ruffed Grouse display for females on a raised surface by beating its wings aggressively to create a drumming sound. Females will go off on their own after mating to create a nest at the base of a tree or large rock. Ruffed grouse are non-migratory birds and rely on good cover for survival

Fun Facts

Female Ruffed Grouse will sometimes lay eggs in low depressions in the snow. Unlike many other birds, Ruffed Grouse can consume bitter and toxic plants such as quaking aspen.