- 15.7–19.7 in
- 19.7–25.2 in
- 15.9–26.5 oz
- Gélinotte huppée (French)
- The toes of Ruffed Grouse grow projections off their sides in winter, making them look like combs. The projections are believed to act as snowshoes to help the grouse walk across snow.
- In winter, the Ruffed Grouse may dive into soft snow to spend the night. Falling snow can hide the evidence of its entry. A grouse bursting at one's feet from flat snow covered ground can be quite startling.
- In much of their range, Ruffed Grouse populations go through 8 to 11 year cycles of increasing and decreasing numbers. Their cycles can be attributed to the snowshoe hare cycle. When hare populations are high, predator populations increase too. When the hare numbers go down, the predators must find alternate prey and turn to grouse, decreasing their numbers.
- Ruffed Grouse nests occasionally are parasitized by Ring-necked Pheasants or Wild Turkeys that lay eggs in the nests.
Aspen woodlands and early succession mixed deciduous forests, with small clearings.
Buds, twigs, catkins, leaves, ferns, soft fruits, acorns, and some insects.
- Egg Description
- Milky to cinnamon-buff, usually plain, but may have reddish spots.
- Condition at Hatching
- Covered in brownish down and eyes open. Leave the nest within 24 hours and feed themselves immediately.
A bowl-like depression in dead leaves and vegetation on the ground, typically at the base of a tree, stump, or boulder.
Male drums from fallen log to attract females. Male may mate with more than one female, and females may visit several males. After copulation, male has nothing more to do with reproduction; the female raises the young alone.
The Ruffed Grouse is an important game bird in most of its range. Management efforts seek to maintain early to mid-successional habitats. Eastern populations are likely to decline as deciduous forests mature and are fragmented by rural and suburban development.
- Rusch, D. H., DeStefano, M. C. Reynolds, and D. Lauten. 2000. Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus). In The Birds of North America, No. 515 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.