Falcipennis canadensis
(Spruce Grouse)


Order: Galliformes
Order Description: Pheasant, Grouse, Turkey, Quail
Family: Phasianidae
Family Description: Pheasant, Grouse, Turkey, Quail

Physical Description:
15-17" (38-43 cm). Brown and white mottling and barring all over that darkens to black at the throat in the male and at the tail in both sexes. Tail ends with a brown or buffClick word for definition tip. Male also has distinct white tipped feathers on breast and tail; red eye combs.

Similar Species- Ruffed Grouse

Song:
Deeply, trilled, dove-like call ending with a donkey ee-a. Wings make sharp clap in flight displays.

Distribution:
Found from central Alaska, east through parts of Canada to Labrador, and south to northeastern Oregon, central Idaho, western Montana, northwestern Wyoming, northern Montana, Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, and parts of New England.

Habitat:
Found in coniferousClick word for definition forests (primarily spruce and pine), especially in forests with dense grass and shrub understories.

Diet:
Eats needles and buds of spruce, jack pine, fir, and larch. Also consumes berries, seeds, fungi, leaves, and some insects as available. In Ontario study, spring diet consisted mainly of conifer foliage, flowers, fruits, foliage of ground plants, grit, and arthropods.

Ecology:
Nests in depression on ground, often near fallen tree. Takes food from foliage, or forages on ground. Primarily arborealClick word for definition. Usually found alone or in small, family flocksClick word for definition. In southwestern Alberta study, spring population densityClick word for definition fluctuated from 5-30/ha over 21 yr; population decline was attributed to maturation of forest. Populations may be highest in earlier stages of post-fire succession.

Reproduction
Female incubatesClick word for definition 5-10 eggs (usually 6-7) for 23-24 days. Hatching occurs from late June-early July in Alberta. Young are tended by female. Females reach sexual maturity as yearlingsClick word for definition. Cold, wet conditions during incubation result in poor productivity. In Ontario study, large clutchClick word for definition size was associated with high intake of flowers of trailing arbutus and moss spore capsules; females relied on spring diet and stored reserves for nutrients required for clutchClick word for definition formation.

Conservation:
Element Code: ABNLC09010
Status: Game species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S4

Important State References:
No references are available at this time.


Photos by Marcus Martin,© 1999 and Peter S. Weber,© 2000
Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.