Blue Grouse

photo by S. King, US NPS PD

Dusky Grouse, Sooty Grouse

Dusky Grouse and Sooty Grouse (previously known as Blue Grouse) are large (16-20 in), chicken-like birds, light to dark gray with a black tail. The bare skin on the side of the male's neck is purplish-red in Dusky Grouse and yellow in Sooty Grouse.

Blue Grouse eat leaves, buds, and conifer needles. Sooty Grouse are found in forested areas near the Pacific coast and in the interior of northern California. Dusky Grouse are found in the western interior. During the summer, they can be found in dry grasslands, shrublands, or mountainous forests. They spend their winters in coniferous forests.

Did you know? Birds of a specific species tend to have the same number of tail feathers (usually around 10). However, Dusky Grouse can have anywhere from 15 to 22.

See Also: Greater Sage-Grouse, Ruffed Grouse, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Spruce Grouse