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.
All bird guide text and rangemaps adapted from Lives of North American Birds by Kenn Kaufman© 1996, used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Pheasants and Grouse, Upland Ground Birds
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
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.
Falling, Flat, Rising
Chirp/Chip, Drum, Scream
Deciduous and mixed forests, especially those with scattered clearings and dense undergrowth; overgrown pastures.
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9-12 pinkish-buff eggs, plain or spotted with dull brown, in a shallow depression lined with leaves and concealed under a bush.
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.