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Spruce Grouse Identification

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The Four Keys to ID

  • Size & Shape

    A stout chickenlike bird with a small bill, short but thick legs, and medium-length tail that can be fanned into a semicircle.

    Relative Size

    Smaller than a Dusky Grouse, larger than a California Quail.

    Relative Sizecrow sizedcrow-sized

    • Both Sexes
      • Length: 15.3-15.9 in (39-40.5 cm)
      • Weight: 17.3-20.9 oz (491-591 g)
      • Wingspan: 21.5-22.6 in (54.5-57.5 cm)

Regional Differences

Spruce Grouse has two very different forms with differences in plumage, behavior, and genetics: "Franklin’s" Spruce Grouse (subspecies franklinii) inhabits montane forests in parts of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, Alberta, and British Columbia. Most of the remaining subspecies are of the "Canada" Spruce Grouse type (canadensis, labradorius, osgoodi, atratus, canace, torridus). Male "Franklin’s" Spruce Grouse lacks the rufous tail tips of "Canada"; and "Franklin’s" has uppertail coverts tipped in white, lacking in "Canada."