Grouses (Tetraonidae)

Grouses (Tetraonidae)

Page Type Page Type: Album
Additional Information Image Type(s): Wildlife


A PtarmiganPtarmigan 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 GrouseGrouse 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 MountainBlue 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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Viewing: 1-5 of 5

lcarreau - Dec 26, 2007 10:57 am - Voted 10/10

Authur ?

I didn't know you had a Grouse album. Amazing birds!
Thanks for posting and sharing!

Arthur Digbee

Arthur Digbee - Sep 17, 2010 5:47 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Authur ?

SP went through a "sort wildlife photos by taxonomy" phase, and I picked up a couple categories. Glad you enjoyed it.


lcarreau - Sep 17, 2010 10:22 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: Authur ?

Geez, it took you nearly three years to answer my comment ???

Where have you been - out chasing sheep and/or buffalo ??

: ))

Arthur Digbee

Arthur Digbee - Sep 18, 2010 7:47 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Authur ?

I see that you posted it over Christmas vacation. I may have been doing something other than browsing SP at that time. :)


lcarreau - Sep 18, 2010 10:32 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: Authur ?

Gotta admit, it was a very frustrating Christmas for me.

All I got in my stockings was coal, and the only warmth I received was when I cozied up to lit monitor of my computer.

But, enough about my problems..

Viewing: 1-5 of 5