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Spruce grouse

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Spruce grouse
Spruce grouse with red white and black plumage.jpg
Scientific Classification

Falcipennis canadensis

The Spruce grouse is often referred to as the fools hen. The grouse is an upland game bird that makes a humming sound when it flies. This camouflaged bird lives a solitary and secluded life.


The spruce grouse is between 15-17 inches long [1]. This puts it at about the size of a small chicken.

The tails of spruce grouse resemble a square [2] and are brown or blackish in color [3]. Males have a white tip near the end of their tail [4].

The breast feathers of the male spruce grouse are black with white stripes across it [5]. The male also has a crimson comb over each eye [6]. A comb is a squishy piece of flesh.

The females are brown with dark and white splotches for camouflage [7]. Her tail is black with a brown band [8].


Spruce grouse mating "dance"

Grouse reproduce sexually then lay eggs. Males will strut around and puff themselves up to attract the females [9]. The male will travel through his territory, to different female territories that overlap his, he does his mating “dance” which consist of a series of short bursts of flight, exaggerated wing beats, strutting, and spreading of the tail [10]. While the female will “sing” to the male with chirps and clucking [11]. The female will lay 4-14 eggs after they finish mating [12] [13]. The eggs hatch within 2-3 weeks [14]. The female will raise the young after they hatch. The chicks will stay close to the mother until the brood disperses in the fall [15].


The female builds the nest. The nest usually is built in a slight depression in the ground in thick underbrush, under low branches or besides or underneath a fallen tree. Inside the dip the nest is built out of twigs, leaves, and grasses[16].


Female spruce grouse


Sage grouse like other grouse will live in grasslands, brush lands, in semi-arid deserts and mixed forests. But the grouse will prefer forests, with sparse scattering of trees, and dense underbrush, they also like a thicker forest that lets enough light fall to the ground, that a good thick carpet of undergrowth will blanket the ground. Grouse also love to find shelter amongst abandoned farm equipment, and in old haunting farm buildings. (14-17, the complete hunter)

What do grouse eat?

by Graybeard763 took this pic of a hawk eating

In the spring, summer, and fall spruce grouse eat bugs, leaves, berries, and conifer needles [17]. During the winter the gizzard will swell like a water balloon to hold all of the food needed to survive the cold temperatures [18]. A grouse’s scat is about 1 1/8 inches long. (332, olaus J. Murie)

What eat grouses?

People eat grouse. [19]. Jack Martins, hawks, bobcats, lynxes; shot tail weasel, raccoons, and pretty much every other predator in the woods eat grouse.

Population of grouse

In a study of grouse population, there were 174 grouse in a selected population. They laid 935 eggs, 374 eggs were eaten by predators, after the brood matured 337 young birds and 24 adults succumbed to disease and predators. Hunters harvested 26 adults, and 38 young grouse, then severe weather killed 54 adults, and 81 young. By the next breeding season, 70 adults survived and 105 young have matured into adults, resulting in 175 grouse ready to breed, the number of birds is almost identical to the number of grouse that bred the previous year.(8-9, the complete hunter)


There have been instances of one species mating with another species of grouse [20]. For more information go to Journal.



  • Grouseby multipile anynomus.wikipidea.
  • canadensis by aynoumus.usgs.
  • Grouse Fact Sheetby Newyork State.New York Envirmental Conservation Spruce Grouse Fact Sheet.
  • Grouseby Mark Eden.Upland Journal Hybird Grouse.
  • (Franklin's) GrouseDendragapus canadensisBy John Fraley. Montana's outdoors.
  • The Complete Hunting. The complete Guide to Hunting. Minnesota: R.R.Donnelley and Sons Co,
  • Murie, Olaus J. Animal Tracks. Boston:Houghton Mifflin Company,1974