Nature Journal
with Photos

Spruce Grouse Identification Tips
(Credit: U. S. Geological Survey)
General Information
- Medium-sized, stocky, round-winged, chicken-like bird
- Long, squarish tail

Adult male
- Red comb over eye
- Black throat with white border
- Black breast with white barring
- Gray plumage with white spots on belly and black
  barring on upperparts
- White spots on uppertail coverts on "Franklin's
- Black tail with pale brown terminal band or black
  tail feathers in "Franklin's Grouse"

Adult female
- Gray-brown or reddish-brown plumage with
  dark-brown and white barring on underparts
- Black tail with brown terminal band

Similar species
The male Spruce Grouse can be distinguished from the Blue Grouse by always having white spotting or barring on the underparts. Blue Grouse is entirely dark below. The brown tip to the tail of most Spruce Grouse is different from the gray or black tip of the Blue Grouse. The "Franklin's" variety of the Spruce Grouse lacks the brown tip to the tail but has white spotting on the uppertail coverts that the Blue Grouse lacks.

Female Spruce Grouse are very similar to female Blue Grouse but have black and white barring on the belly. Also, the terminal band on the tail is brown, not gray as in the Blue Grouse. Ruffed Grouse is browner and paler on the belly with a black subterminal band on the tail.
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