Very similar to Dusky Grouse, which along with this species were once considered conspecific as Blue Grouse. Often appears long-tailed and longer-necked than other forest grouse. Male: Upperparts are dark gray-brown. Underparts are dark gray. Tail is slightly rounded or wedge-shaped (square on Dusky), and shows a narrow gray terminal band. The tail consists of 18 rounded feathers, while Dusky has 20 square-tipped tail feathers. During courtship display, neck feathers spread to reveal a warty patch of yellow skin. This patch of bare skin is smooth and magenta on male Dusky Grouse. The feathers around this patch have limited white at their bases. The yellow eye combs turn reddish during display. Female: Dark mottled brown upperparts, grayer on underparts. Lacks the strong barring found on Spruce Grouse and Ruffed Grouse.
Length: 46 (cm) Wingspan: 61 (cm)
Mature upslope coniferous forests dominated by Douglas-fir, western hemlock, and true firs. Although present at lower elevations in coastal foothills, mostly found above 2000' elevation up to near timberline.
Males display from high in trees, whereas Dusky Grouse display from ground perches. "Booming" season runs from March-June. During summer and early fall, family groups may be found along gravel forest roads.
Conifer needles, leaves, flowers, berries. Juveniles take insects.
Expanded Life History
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Nest in western Oregon described as on the ground in a slight depression, constructed of a few sticks and lined with bracken fern (Manassa Schrock 1953).by Dave Irons on July 10, 2012 at 08:00 am
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|Dan Mitchell added Sooty Grouse to their Strathcona Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, Brit smart list||9/21/2011 at 6:14PM|