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Ruffed Grouse

The Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus) is a medium-sized grouse with two distinct color phases, grey and red. In the grey phase, adults have a long square brownish tail with barring and a black band near the end. The head, neck and back are grey-brown; they have a light breast with barring. The ruffs are located on the sides of the neck. The female is smaller with less obvious ruffs and a shorter tail.

Their breeding habitat can be found in forests across Canada and the northern United States, including Alaska. They nest on the ground in dense growth, usually near a log or tree trunk.

They are permanent residents. Some move short distances to denser cover for winter.

These birds are foragers, choosing their food sources mainly from the ground or in trees. They are omnivores and choose to eat buds, leaves, berries and seeds, but also insects and even small frogs.

This is the most wide-spread grouse in North America. The male is often heard drumming on a fallen log in spring on territory. When surprised, they may explode into flight.

This is the state bird of Pennsylvania.

Ruffed Grouse


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