Pennsylvania State Bird
Ruffed Grouse (common name)
Bonasa umbellus (scientific name)
The ruffed grouse, a stout, reddish-brown upland game bird about the size of a small chicken, is a familiar sight in Pennsylvania's forests and was an important food for many of the state's original settlers. It was designated the state bird of Pennsylvania in 1931. It has a small crest on its head and a tail with 18 brown-and-black striped feathers; males and females look similar, although the female has a shorter tail and smaller head crest.
Grouse are primarily ground-foraging fruit eaters (grapes, apples, pears, thorn apples, blueberries, strawberries, cherries), but they will also eat acorns, hickory nuts, insects, and the buds of birch, poplar, ferns, and willow trees. The grouse's coloration, dense habitat, and slow, deliberate walk along the forest floor make it virtually invisible to predators, while its thick downy feathers enable it to survive harsh winters.
The female grouse's calls are a series of clucks. Males often mate with more than one female. After copulation, the male has nothing more to do with the incubation or feeding of their young. Females feed their young a diet of insects and take care of them until they can roost on their own in trees. Nests are piles of leaves on the ground protected by rocks or tree trunks.
ALSO KNOWN AS
Shoulder-knot grouse, drumming grouse, birch partridge, drumming pheasant, mountain pheasant
Grouse are fairly solitary birds except during mating season, when males will perch on fallen logs and "drum" to attract females. Males puff out their chests, flare their ruffed neck feathers, fan out their tail feathers, and make a deep thumping sound by beating their wings against the air at an increasingly rapid tempo.
Mixed deciduous (aspen, poplar, oak, birch, maple) and mixed pine and deciduous forests with dense undergrowth. Typically found on hillsides rather than lowland areas.
Range: Subarctic Canada and northeastern United States from Maine to northern Georgia west to Minnesota; Rocky Mountains south to Utah; Pacific Coast to southern Oregon. Isolated populations exist in the Central U.S. from the Dakotas to Arkansas, and the bird has been introduced in Newfoundland and Nevada.
Migration: Does not migrate.
Conservation Status: Least Concern (LC)
Nesting Period: April-June
Size of Clutch: 11
Incubation Period: 23-25 days
Egg Description: Creamy white to light brown, occasionally with reddish spots.
Egg Size: 1.5 in x 1 in (38 mm-25 mm)
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|Author: World Trade Press|