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Grouses (Tetraonidae)

Grouses (Tetraonidae)

Grouses (Tetraonidae)

Page Type: Album

Object Title: Grouses (Tetraonidae)

Image Type(s): Wildlife


Page By: Arthur Digbee

Created/Edited: Aug 26, 2007 / Aug 29, 2009

Object ID: 328851

Hits: 3976 

Page Score: 84.27% - 18 Votes 

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A Ptarmigan
Ptarmigan by Eric Sandbo

SP now has a fairly well-developed hierarchy of animal albums, but the bird albums consist of a few albums with too many photos to be useful. The idea behind this album is to start sorting mountain birds by family, as an aid to identification as well as for entertainment purposes.

The Grouse Family

This family consists of grouses, prairie-chickens, and ptarmigans. You can get the full list of species at wikipedia. The family belongs to the order Galliformes, which includes turkeys, quail, domestic poultry, pheasants, and other birds that look fairly similar to the grouse.

Organ Mt. Hondo Canyon Grouse
Grouse by slowbutsteady
All of the grouses have double feathers for insulation and feathered feet. Ptarmigans even have feathered toes. Most species have interesting courtship rituals and can make booming or stomping sounds that carry a good distance.

In North America, grouses tend to live in colder regions, in the north and/or higher-elevation habitats. They are generalists and have varied diets, helping them survive in these harsher environments.

Most species are reasonably abundant. Because they, uh, taste like chicken, many are often popular game species. A few are threatened or endangered, however.


Grouse on Deer Mountain
Blue Grouse on Deer Mountain

The spruce grouse is found throughout Canada and Alaska, with a small population in the Pacific Northwest. The blue grouse is found in the Sierras, Coast Range and Rockies almost to the Mexican border. The ruffed grouse is the most widespread, found around the Great Lakes, the west coast, northern Rockies, the Appalachians, and throughout the northeastern US.

Prairie chickens and the sharp-tailed grouse live in much-restricted ranges on the Great Plains. The sage grouse lives in the sagebrush country of the intermountain West.

North America has three species of ptarmigans: willow, rock, and white-tailed. The first two are found only in the Arctic. White-tailed ptarmigans are locally abundant in the high country of Colorado, Glacier NP, and the Cascades. There are small reintroduced populations in the Sierra Nevadas and Uintas.

I should note that those descriptions of grouse ranges are very approximate. Wyoming, with plains, higher elevation sagebrush, and high mountains, is home to most grouse and prairie chicken species but the exact range of each depends heavily on elevation.



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Arthur DigbeeRe: Authur ?

Arthur Digbee

Hasn't voted

SP went through a "sort wildlife photos by taxonomy" phase, and I picked up a couple categories. Glad you enjoyed it.
Posted Sep 17, 2010 5:47 pm

Arthur DigbeeRe: Authur ?

Arthur Digbee

Hasn't voted

I see that you posted it over Christmas vacation. I may have been doing something other than browsing SP at that time. :)
Posted Sep 18, 2010 7:47 am

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