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Dusky Grouse - BirdForum Opus

Revision as of 12:03, 19 May 2021 by Sbarnhardt (talk | contribs) (Add Clearer Species Image by sw2001 to Species position, Moved Mark Harper Displaying Male image to Subspecies)
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Photo © by sw2001
Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada, 17 May 2021
Dendragapus obscurus


Photo by Dave B Smith
Sheep River PP, Alberta, Canada

42cm. Mottled brown, chicken-like birds with a dark tail.
Males: have a yellow comb above the eye that can be raised during displays, and black-tipped white feathers on the neck that cover reddish patches of bare skin, which are inflatable during displays. Grey band on tail
Females: are mottled brown above and mottled gray below. Brown tail with grey band.

Northern populations of Dusky Grouse (Nevada-Idaho border north) lack the blue-gray tail band seen in Sooty Grouse, but Dusky Grouse in the southern part of the species range (Nevada, Utah, southward) do have the tail band.


Photo by eastwood
Manning Park, British Columbia, July 2012

Western Canada and western states of the USA in mountainous regions.


Photo © by sw2001
Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada, 27 March 2021


Displaying male
Photo by Mark Harper
Glack Canyon of Gunnison, Colorado, USA, April 2008

Four subspecies accepted:

Was until 2006 considered conspecific with Sooty Grouse under the name Blue Grouse.


Conifer and mixed forests, shrub, desert, tundra, up to 3,600m. Not found in arid regions or plains.


Nonmigratory, but they move in elevation with the seasons, spending the summers in mixed deciduous forests and winter in conifers at higher elevations.

Relatively tame, they often allow close approach before walking or running into thickets.


The male inflates its colorful air sac during courtship to produce owl-like hoots that can be heard at considerable distance.

They nest in a ground scrape. Incubation is 25-26 days by the female.


Includes berries, tree buds, twigs, leaves, seed, and insects. In winter the diet includes conifer needles.


  1. 47th Supplement to the AOU Checklist
  2. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

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