- ORDER: Galliformes
- FAMILY: Phasianidae
The Sooty Grouse is a large game bird of the wet mountain forests of the Pacific Coast. Females are intricately camouflaged in brown, buff, and white. Males are a steely gray-blue, but during courtship they reveal orange eye combs and yellow-orange air sacs in the neck. They eat needles, buds, berries, and insects. Unlike their close relative the Dusky Grouse of the Rockies, Sooty Grouse display from perches high up in trees. Their deep, rhythmic hooting calls are loud, but can be difficult to locate.More ID Info
Find This Bird
Finding Sooty Grouse often involves patience. Try walking quietly or driving through open coniferous woodlands in spring, and listen for the male’s hooting—then take some time to locate the sound. Early in the morning, you may also find Sooty Grouse walking along trails or roadsides, gathering grit for their diet.
- Gallo fuliginoso (Spanish)
- Tétras fuligineux (French)
- Cool Facts
- The Sooty Grouse of the Pacific Coast and the Dusky Grouse of the Rockies were long considered the same species, (“Blue Grouse”), but their displays, plumages, vocalizations, and genetics differ. The two species do sometimes hybridize in a small zone of contact in interior British Colombia.
- The Sooty Grouse is the third largest grouse in North America, and one of the largest in the world. The two sage-grouse (Greater and Gunnison) are the only larger American grouse species.
- Most bird species have a consistent number of tail feathers (rectrices)—usually around 10 of them. The Sooty Grouse, however, can have from 15 to 22.