Dusky Grouse Life History


Habitat ForestsDuring breeding season, can be found in dry grasslands and shrublands as well as dry mountainous forests and subalpine habitats. In winter, found almost entirely in coniferous forests.Back to top


Food PlantsMainly leaves, flowers and conifer needles. Dusky Grouse, especially juveniles, will also eat small invertebrates.Back to top


Nest Placement

Nest GroundAlmost always nests on ground with variable amounts of cover; from open, recently burned areas to dense coniferous or mixed coniferous forests.

Nest Description

Nest is generally a shallow depression in the ground, lined with dead vegetation and body feathers.

Nesting Facts
Condition at Hatching:Downy and able to follow mother.
Back to top


Behavior Ground ForagerSpends most of its time on the ground foraging, but will also forage for buds in deciduous trees and needles in coniferous trees. During winter, Dusky Grouse spend most of their time in coniferous trees eating needles. In general, they vocalize from the ground and rather infrequently.Back to top


Conservation Low ConcernThere is little information on Dusky Grouse population numbers and trends. Overall, populations appeared stable between 1966 and 2014, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 300,000, with 56% living int he U.S., and 44% in Canada. The species rates a 12 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Dusky Grouse is a U.S.-Canada Stewardship species and is not on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List.Back to top


North American Bird Conservation Initiative. 2014. The State of the Birds 2014 Report. US Department of Interior, Washington, DC, USA.

Partners in Flight (2017). Avian Conservation Assessment Database. 2017.

Sauer, J. R., J. E. Hines, J. E. Fallon, K. L. Pardieck, Jr. Ziolkowski, D. J. and W. A. Link. The North American Breeding Bird Survey, results and analysis 1966-2013 (Version 1.30.15). USGS Patuxtent Wildlife Research Center 2014b. Available from http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/bbs/.

Sibley, D. A. (2014). The Sibley guide to birds, second edition. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, USA.

Back to top