Bonasa Umbellus – Ruffed Grouse

Bonasa Umbellus - Ruffed Grouse

The ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus) is a medium-sized bird that may be found in woodlands from the Appalachian Mountains to Alaska. It does not migrate. The genus Bonasa has only one species.

The ruffed grouse is commonly mistaken with the grey partridge, a bird of open regions rather than woodlands, and is frequently wrongly referred to as a “partridge,” an unrelated phasianid. The ruffed grouse is the state bird of Pennsylvania, which is located in the United States.

Quick Overview: Bonasa Umbellus – Ruffed Grouse
Body size: Around 37-46 in (94-117 cm) and weight of 111986 g (395.07.99 oz)
Main colors: Red-brown, Yellow, Black
Range: Northern United States
Migratory Bird: No
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: All Year (January – December)
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Ruffed Grouse Description

The Ruffed Grouse measures around 18 inches in length. The hue is two-toned reddish-brown and speckled on the back, with yellowish undertones and black bars beneath. When extended, the tail has 18 wide feathers that look like half-diamonds. Part of the tarsus is feathered.

Bonasa Umbellus - Ruffed Grouse
Bonasa Umbellus – Ruffed Grouse. Source: Wikipedia


These birds have a length of 37-46 in (94-117 cm) and weight of 111986 g (395.07.99 oz). Their wings could range from 48-60 in (122-150 cm).


Fruit, such as thorn apples, blueberries, and strawberries, account for more than one-fourth of the Ruffed Grouse’s diet. It also consumes sunflower seeds, both wild and farmed, as well as birch, poplar, and willow buds. The Christmas Fern is also an important food source for the Ruffed Grouse.


The Ruffed Grouse favors wooded habitats in harsh, cold environments. It also favors gloomy and quiet woodlands, dense thickets, and protected wetlands. The Ruffed Grouse dislikes wide fields and is rarely, if ever, seen there.


The Ruffed Grouse is a protective bird. The mother cares for the hatchlings until they are old enough to roost on trees on their own. Except during breeding season, when they flock together, they are mostly solitary birds. The male grouse has an odd behavior that most woods people are undoubtedly aware of, but few have ever experienced it. A unique drumming sound is made by the male.

Bonasa Umbellus Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Galliformes
  • Family: Phasianidae
  • Genus: Bonasa
  • Species: Bonasa umbellus

Best time of the year to see

In the United States, the best time of year to see these birds is all year round, regardless of the season. This refers to any month of the year between January and December.

Distribution of the Ruffed Grouse in the USA

Resident from Alaska and northern Canada south to California, Wyoming, Minnesota, and the South Carolina and North Carolina; also found in the Appalachians and Georgia . In the east, things are deteriorating.

The Ruffed Grouse can be found in the following states in the United States – Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Bonasa Umbellus – Ruffed Grouse

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