The Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus) is a medium-sized game bird found in the forests of North America. Also known as the "partridge" in some regions, it is a popular game bird among hunters.
Ruffed Grouse are typically 16-19 inches in length and weigh from 14.1 to 34.5 ounces. They have a brownish-gray plumage with black and white barring on their wings and tail. The male Ruffed Grouse has a distinctive ruff of feathers on its neck and a dark tail with a wide, dark band near the end.
These birds are primarily found in deciduous and mixed forests across Canada and the United States. They are most commonly found at low to mid-elevations and prefer habitats with open forest understories, where they can feed on a variety of plants, fruits, and insects.
One of the most fascinating things about the Ruffed Grouse is their drumming display. During the breeding season (typically March to May), male grouse will establish their territories and attempt to attract females by drumming on a log or other hard surface. The drumming sound is created by the grouse rapidly beating their wings against the air, causing a low-frequency thump. The drumming is so loud that it can be heard up to a quarter-mile away!
While Ruffed Grouse populations are generally stable, they can be impacted by habitat loss and fragmentation, particularly due to logging and development. These birds are also preyed upon by a variety of predators, including hawks, owls, and mammals such as coyotes and foxes.
Overall, the Ruffed Grouse is a fascinating and iconic bird of North America's forests. Its unique behaviors and striking appearance make it a beloved species among bird enthusiasts and hunters alike.