- Spruce grouse are small birds, only 38 centimetres (15 inches) long.
- Males and females are very similar, but females are barred with more brown on the back.
- The males of both Alberta races of this species have red combs above the eyes that are usually hidden by feathers.
- Males tails are black, tipped with pale brown.
- Franklin's grouse, a variety of spruce grouse, have no brown tip. They have, however, white spots on the sides of the base
of the tail.
- Found throughout the coniferous forests of northern Alberta and the Rocky Mountains.
- Spruce grouse feed almost entirely on conifer needles in winter.
- In spring and summer they also eat insects, leaves and berries.
- In spring, the male sets up a territory in a forest opening.
- As part of his display to attract a hen, he struts about, eye combs inflated and tail feathers erect and fanned. He then
flutters from the low bough of a tree to the ground, producing low drumming sounds that end with a sharp wing-clap just
before he lands.
- Hens build nests of leaves and grass, often in moss under spruce trees. The clutch consists of six or seven eggs, mottled
light and dark brown.
- Eggs hatch in about 21 days. Chicks remain with the hen throughout the summer.
Spruce grouse are classified as Secure in the General Status of Alberta Wild Species report. See:
Specific season information is provided in the current Alberta Guide to Hunting Regulations. To view the guide
online or to order a printed copy, visit the My Wild Alberta website at:
Posted: Apr 8, 2009