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 buff tip. Male also has distinct white tipped feathers on breast and tail; red eye combs.
Similar Species- Ruffed Grouse
Deeply, trilled, dove-like call ending with a donkey ee-a. Wings make sharp clap in flight displays.
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.
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.
Nests in depression on ground, often near fallen tree. Takes food from foliage, or forages on ground. Primarily arboreal. Usually found alone or in small, family flocks. In southwestern Alberta study, spring population density 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.
Female incubates 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 yearlings. Cold, wet conditions during incubation result in poor productivity. In Ontario study, large clutch 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 clutch formation.
No references are available at this time.