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Spruce Grouse - BirdForum Opus

Photo © ronjames4_
Alaska, May 2005
Canachites canadensis

Falcipennis canadensis


40cm (15¾ in)

  • Grey overall plumage
  • Black breast with white bars
  • Black throat
  • Red area over the eye
  • Long square black tail, brown tip

Adult females are mottled brown with dark and white bars on the underparts.


There are two distinct groups:
Most and especially northerly birds, such as C.c. canadensis, have a rufous tip to the tail and lacks white spots above the tail.
"Franklin's Grouse," C.c. franklinii (including isleibi), has an all black tail with small white spots on the feathers overlying it.


North America: Alaska, Canada and United States.


This species has in the past been placed in genus Dendragapus or in genus Falcipennis.


There are 7 subspecies[1]:

  • C. c. osgoodi:
  • Alaska and Yukon to Great Slave Lake and Lake Athabasca
  • C. c. atratus:
  • South Alaska (Bristol Bay) to Prince William Sound and Kodiak Island
  • C. c. canadensis:
  • Coniferous forests of Canada (central Alberta to Labrador)
  • C. c. canace:
  • C. c. torridus:
  • C. c. isleibi:
  • Southeastern Alaska (Prince of Wales Island, and adjacent islands in the Alexander Archipelago)
  • C. c. franklinii:


Boreal forest and taiga.



The diet consists mostly of conifer needles in the winter. Their summer diet, they add berries, green plants, and some insects. They eat small stones, to help their gizzard digest their food.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2021. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2021. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Schroeder, M. A., E. J. Blomberg, D. A. Boag, P. Pyle, and M. A. Patten (2021). Spruce Grouse (Canachites canadensis), version 1.1. In Birds of the World (P. G. Rodewald, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.sprgro.01.1

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.