The dusky grouse and the sooty grouse were first identified separately by Lewis and Clark in the 1800s. Ptarmigan. Originally sourced from, Source: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife 2018. It is also displaying on the ground. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. 6s, steel No. But opting out of some of these cookies may affect your browsing experience. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. Males are a steely gray-blue, but during courtship they reveal orange eye combs and yellow-orange air sacs in the neck. The lethality challenge is the same for forest grouse (ruffed, spruce, dusky and so on) as for prairie grouse (sharptails and prairie chickens, not including sage grouse.) I’d like to learn more about what influences their numbers as they have unanticipated highs and lows. Why all the back and forth? Thanks for explaining this! We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. Slow-moving and inconspicuous, but often surprisingly tame. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. Accessed at:, Schroeder, Michael A. And they are also suspected to interbreed where their ranges overlap, further complicating identification. If you want to be relatively sure of your identification, try to match up as many of these as you can. Learn how your comment data is processed. Males can weigh up to three pounds and females and juveniles about two … But depending on which part of their range you are in, their feathers may be slightly different colored and the identification features above might be less helpful. They have a wide distribution, and their population numbers are holding their own for the last few decades. Length: 15.7-19.7 in. once again elitist over educated snobs telling the rest of us what to think say and do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Sooty Grouse is a large game bird of the wet mountain forests of the Pacific Coast. I think this is sick. US military issues. At a quick glance, it’s easy to see why the blue grouse remained a single species for so long. This large grouse lives in mountain forests of ponderosa and lodgepole pine, aspen, and fir. Female Dusky grouse . The males can look essentially the same with only minor physical differences, while the females look nearly identical. It remained that way until 2006, when the American Ornithologist’s Union decided to once again split the species into two separate species. However, DNA research offered sufficient evidence in 2006 to split the blue grouse into the sooty and the dusky grouse again. The dusky grouse mostly occurs on the drier, interior (eastern) sides of our western mountain ranges. The dusky grouse is a large forest grouse species, larger than the ruffed grouse, weighing approximately 2 to 3 pounds on average. NatureServe. I have wondered why we saw the switch from Blue to Dusky in NM and CO. Grouse Ecology. It is also displaying in a tree or from a higher vantage point. (40-50 cm) - Weight: 26.5-45.9 oz. And during a good year, there is a time, about late-September until the ground is snow covered when I have a terrible time finding them. Sources: NatureServe 2018; Schroeder 2016; Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife 2018. For example, in parts of southeast Alaska (where their ranges overlap), sooty grouse have been observed with red throat sacs instead of yellow ones, and in Colorado and New Mexico, some dusky grouse have banded gray tails instead of black ones (Schroeder 2016). The approximate distribution of sooty and dusky grouse in North America. This is one of my favorite birds to eat, favorite of any meat for that matter. The blue grouse is a bird shrouded in mystery. Rock Ptarmigan. Its range follows the Pacific Ocean coastline from California to Alaska, though some populations also extend through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. On the rear side of their tail fan, they also have light gra… For example, the top row is one of the most important identifiers from afar (if a male is displaying), while the bottom row would be impractical to check until you were holding the bird in your hand. But fortunately, there are a few key physical differences and situations you can use to identify them. Out of these, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. The blue grouse is definitely a worthy opponent in that regard. The table below lists the identifying characteristics for each species in order of usefulness in the field. It remained that way until 2006, when the American Ornithologist’s Union decided to once again split the species into two separate species (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife 2018). Fortunately, most hunting regulations allow you to take either of the “blue grouse” species in a combined possession limit so you do not have to agonize over identification while hunting.