Do You Know the Difference Between Ruffed Grouse and Spruce Grouse?
Attention Game Bird Hunters!!
Male Ruffed Grouse
- When approached by someone on foot or in a vehicle, the Ruffed Grouse will frequently "perk" their head up like a chicken
- Commonly flush and take flight when disturbed
- May also lower head, with neck extended, and run for cover
(Spruce Grouse lack all of these features)
- Conspicuous broad black band on the tail
- Black ruff feathers on sides of neck
- Small feathers pointing up from top of head
Immature Male Spruce Grouse; female is similar,
but without red eye patch (inset-Male Spruce Grouse)
- Generally act very tame; may allow a hunter or a slow-moving vehicle to approach to within a few feet
- Immature Male Spruce Grouse; female is similar, but without red eye patch (inset-Male Spruce Grouse)
- Will often "crouch" low to the ground when approached
- When finally ready to move, will often run only a short distance, or fly only to a nearby tree
- Tail feathers have red-brown tips and lack the broad black band of the Ruffed Grouse
- Male Spruce Grouse are slate gray and black above characteristic unfeathered red patch of skin above the eye
- Female Spruce Grouse are gray and brown above and white and brown below; under certain light conditions, they may look similar to the red phase of Ruffed Grouse
- Currently there is No Open Season on Spruce Grouse in Maine. As in any hunting situation, it is imperative that the hunter be certain of his/her target before discharging a firearm.
- Spruce Grouse and Ruffed Grouse can and do occur in the same areas of Maine.
- In certain light conditions, they may look similar.
- Nearly half a million Ruffed Grouse are harvested here annually.
- Although the Fish and Wildlife Department does not have a population estimate for Spruce Grouse, we do know that they are far less numerous than Ruffed Grouse -- even considered rare -- in much of Maine.