Spruce Grouse Life History


Habitat ForestsConiferous forest, including those dominated by dense stands of spruce, pine, or fir.Back to top


Food PlantsMostly pine and spruce needles; some invertebrates in summer.Back to top


Nest Placement

Nest Ground

Nest Description

A depression in the ground, lined with conifer needles and feathers. Site always has overhead cover, often at the base of a tree.

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size:4-6 eggs
Egg Description:Olive with variable spots.
Condition at Hatching:Downy and able to follow mother.
Back to top


Behavior Foliage GleanerTerritorial displays include fanning and sweeping of the tail, and wing claps. Unlike some other North American grouse, the Spruce Grouse does not have throat-sacs that inflate during displays. Forages in trees and on the ground.Back to top


Conservation Low ConcernThere is little information on population trends of Spruce Grouse, but habitat loss is a threat to the species, and appears to have caused a dramatic reduction or elimination of populations in some areas. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 11 million with 19% living in the U.S., and 81% in Canada. The species rates an 8 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Spruce Grouse is a U.S.-Canada Stewardship species and is not on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List. These birds have historically inhabited forests showing a fire-related patchwork of various stages of regeneration; timber harvesting can produce similar patterns, but only if clear-cut areas are small and if sufficient quantities of optimal habitat are preserved. Spruce Grouse is listed as "endangered" or "threatened" in some states at the edge of its range. 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.

Schroeder, Michael A., Erik J. Blomberg, David A. Boag, Peter Pyle and Michael A. Patten. 2018. Spruce Grouse (Falcipennis canadensis), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA

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

Back to top