Thursday, January 30, 2014

Ruffed Grouse

Ruffed Grouse
The Ruffed Grouse  is a medium-sized grouse occurring in forests from the Appalachian Mountains across Canada to Alaska. It is non-migratory.The Ruffed Grouse is sometimes incorrectly referred to as a "partridge", an unrelated Phidias and occasionally confused with the Grey Partridge, a bird of open areas rather than woodlands.The Ruffed Grouse is the state bird of Pennsylvania, USA.These chunky medium sized birds weigh from 450-750 g  measure from 40 to 50 cm  in length and span 50-64 cm  across their short, strong wings. Ruffed Grouse have two distinct morphs, grey and brown. In the grey morph, the head, neck and back are grey-brown the breast is light with barring. There is much white on the underside and flanks, and overall the birds have a variegated appearance the throat is often distinctly lighter. The tail is essentially the same brownish grey with regular barring and a broad black band near the end . Brown-morph birds have tails of the same color and pattern, but the rest of the plumage is much more brown, giving the appearance of a more uniform bird with less light plumage below and a conspicuously grey tail. There are all sorts of inter grades between the most typical morphs; warmer and more humid conditions favor browner birds in general.The ruffs are on the sides of the neck in both genders. They also have a crest on top of their head which sometimes lies flat. Both genders are similarly marked and sized making them difficult to tell apart even in hand. The female often has a broken sub terminal tail band while males tend to have unbroken tail bands though the opposite of either can occur. Females may also do a display similar to the male. Another fairly accurate sign is that rump feathers with a single white dot indicate a female; rump feathers with more than one white dot indicate a male.


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