At a Glance

16-19' (41-48 cm). A brown or gray-brown, chicken-like bird with slight crest, fan-shaped, black-banded tail, barred flanks, and black 'ruffs' on sides of neck.
Pheasants and Grouse, Upland Ground Birds
Low Concern
Forests and Woodlands, High Mountains, Shrublands, Savannas, and Thickets
Alaska and The North, California, Eastern Canada, Great Lakes, Mid Atlantic, New England, Northwest, Plains, Rocky Mountains, Southeast, Southwest, Western Canada
Flushes, Rapid Wingbeats, Running

Range & Identification

Migration & Range Maps


16-19" (41-48 cm). Short crest; long, fan-shaped tail with wide blackish band near tip. Has two color morphs, most obvious in tail color (gray or reddish). Black neck ruffs not usually apparent except during displays. Wide bars of dark and white on sides (below wings) may be conspicuous.
About the size of a Crow, About the size of a Mallard or Herring Gull
Black, Brown, Gray, Red, White
Wing Shape
Fingered, Rounded
Tail Shape
Rounded, Square-tipped

Songs and Calls

Female gives soft hen-like clucks. In spring displaying male sits on a log and beats the air with his wings, creating a drumming sound that increases rapidly in tempo.
Call Pattern
Falling, Flat, Rising
Call Type
Chirp/Chip, Drum, Scream


Deciduous and mixed forests, especially those with scattered clearings and dense undergrowth; overgrown pastures.



9-12 pinkish-buff eggs, plain or spotted with dull brown, in a shallow depression lined with leaves and concealed under a bush.

Climate Vulnerability

Conservation Status

Climate Map

Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect the range of the Ruffed Grouse. Learn even more in our Audubon’s Survival By Degrees project.

Climate Threats Facing the Ruffed Grouse

Choose a temperature scenario below to see which threats will affect this species as warming increases. The same climate change-driven threats that put birds at risk will affect other wildlife and people, too.

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