Dusky Grouse

The Dusky Grouse (Dendragapus obscurus) is found in the North America’s Rocky Mountains.


Adults have a long square tail with grey tips.

Adult males are mainly dark with a purplish throat air sac surrounded by white, and a yellow to red wattle over the eye during display.

Adult females are mottled brown with dark brown and white marks on the under plumage.

Distribution / Range

They occur at the edges of conifer and mixed forests in mountainous regions of western North America, from southeastern Alaska and Yukon south to New Mexico. They are mostly resident, but may move to denser forest areas or move to higher altitudes for the winter.

Calls / Vocalizations

Males sing with deep hoots on their territory and make short flapping flights to attract females.

Nesting / Breeding

The nest is a scrape on the ground usually concealed under a shrub or log. Females leave the male’s territory after mating.

Diet / Feeding

These birds forage on the ground or in trees in winter.

In winter, they mainly eat fir and douglas-fir needles, occasionally also hemlock and pine needles; in summer, other green plants (Pteridium, Salix), berries (Gaultheria, Mahonia, Rubus, Vaccinium), and insects (particularly ants, beetles, grasshoppers) are more important.

Chicks are almost entirely dependent on insect food for their first ten days.

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