Spruce Grouse photos
Alaska is home to four different grouse species. I have photographed three of them, most spruce grouse, because they are the most widely distributed of the four species. All the spruce grouse photos on this site are available to license as stock photos for commercial use or to purchase as fine art prints for your home and office decor.
Spruce Grouse (Dendragopus candensis)
The Spruce grouse in Alaska are known to be relatively tame, and approaching them is often straightforward. They inhabit the dense spruce woods and feed on berries and spruce needles. The varied color and patterns in their feathers make them attractive birds. Adults have a long square black tails, brown at the end. Adult males are mainly gray with black breasts with white bars, a black throat, and a red patch over the eye. Adult females are mottled brown with dark and white bars on the underparts. Males have a distinct red band around the eye.
Spruce Grouse breeding habits
Their breeding habitat is the boreal forests or taiga across Alaska. During the breeding season (spring), the red above the eye of the male bird is accentuated, and fan-tailed feather displays may be seen as they vie for female attention. They nest on the ground in dense growth.
Spruce Grouse behavior
Spruce grouse are permanent residents. Some move short distances on foot to a different location for winter. These birds forage on the ground or in trees in winter. The caeca, digestive sacs in the intestines, increase in size to support the bird’s winter diet of conifer needles. They also eat berries, green plants, and some insects in summer. The spruce grouse has great confidence in its camouflage and will often stay still even when approached within a few feet (1 m). This characteristic has earned them the nickname “Fool Hens.” However, the spruce grouse will become skittish during the winter due to a lack of camouflage; they take flight when approached within 20-150 feet (6-45 m). A male on the territory makes a drumming sound by flapping his wings.
Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus)
Sharp-tailed Grouse (Tympanuchus phasianellus)
Text adapted from Wikipedia under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.