Bonasa umbellus - (Linnaeus, 1766)
Ruffed Grouse
Other English Common Names: ruffed grouse
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Bonasa umbellus (Linnaeus, 1766) (TSN 175790)
French Common Names: gélinotte huppée
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.102687
Element Code: ABNLC11010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Other Birds
Image 11144

© Jeff Nadler

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Galliformes Phasianidae Bonasa
Genus Size: A - Monotypic genus
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.
Concept Reference Code: B98AOU01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Bonasa umbellus
Taxonomic Comments: Ellsworth et al. (1995) examined phylogenetic relationships among North American grouse based on mtDNA data and found that Falcipennis canadensis is more closely related to Bonasa umbellus (ruffed grouse) than to Dendragapus obscurus (blue grouse), which is allied with Lagopus (ptarmigan) and Tetrao (capercaillie, a European grouse).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 06Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 25Nov1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Jan1997)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (02Jan2018)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S1), Alaska (S4), Arkansas (SX), California (S3S4), Colorado (SU), Connecticut (S3), Delaware (SX), District of Columbia (SX), Georgia (S4), Idaho (S4), Illinois (S3), Indiana (S4), Iowa (S4B), Kansas (SX), Kentucky (S4), Maine (S5), Maryland (S4), Massachusetts (S4), Michigan (S5), Minnesota (SNR), Missouri (SU), Montana (S4), Nebraska (SX), Nevada (SNA), New Hampshire (S5), New Jersey (S5), New York (S5), North Carolina (S4), North Dakota (SNR), Ohio (S5), Oregon (S5), Pennsylvania (S5), Rhode Island (S5B,S5N), South Carolina (S4), South Dakota (S4B,S4N), Tennessee (S4), Utah (S4), Vermont (S4S5), Virginia (S5), Washington (S5), West Virginia (S5B,S5N), Wisconsin (S4B), Wyoming (S5)
Canada Alberta (S5), British Columbia (S5), Labrador (S4), Manitoba (S4S5), New Brunswick (S5), Newfoundland Island (SNR), Northwest Territories (S5), Nova Scotia (S5), Ontario (S4), Prince Edward Island (S5), Quebec (S4), Saskatchewan (S5B,S5N), Yukon Territory (S4)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: RESIDENT: central Alaska and most of forested Canada south to northern California, central Idaho, central Utah, western South Dakota, Minnesota, central Arkansas, northern Georgia, and northeastern Virginia; introduced and established in Iowa, Newfoundland, Nevada, and part of Michigan (Godfrey 1966, AOU 1983, Crawford 1986). See Crawford (1986) for a map of distribution by subspecies. Was virtually extirpated from Indiana, Missouri, and Illinois, and populations were greatly reduced in Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, and parts of Montana, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. Reintroduced into Missouri and Indiana. Populations are limited in Illinois, Missouri, Nevada, and South Dakota.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: RESIDENT: central Alaska and most of forested Canada south to northern California, central Idaho, central Utah, western South Dakota, Minnesota, central Arkansas, northern Georgia, and northeastern Virginia; introduced and established in Iowa, Newfoundland, Nevada, and part of Michigan (Godfrey 1966, AOU 1983, Crawford 1986). See Crawford (1986) for a map of distribution by subspecies. Was virtually extirpated from Indiana, Missouri, and Illinois, and populations were greatly reduced in Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, and parts of Montana, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. Reintroduced into Missouri and Indiana. Populations are limited in Illinois, Missouri, Nevada, and South Dakota.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The maps for birds represent the breeding status by state and province. In some jurisdictions, the subnational statuses for common species have not been assessed and the status is shown as not-assessed (SNR). In some jurisdictions, the subnational status refers to the status as a non-breeder; these errors will be corrected in future versions of these maps. A species is not shown in a jurisdiction if it is not known to breed in the jurisdiction or if it occurs only accidentally or casually in the jurisdiction. Thus, the species may occur in a jurisdiction as a seasonal non-breeding resident or as a migratory transient but this will not be indicated on these maps. See other maps on this web site that depict the Western Hemisphere ranges of these species at all seasons of the year.
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AK, AL, ARexotic, CA, CO, CT, DCextirpated, DEextirpated, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KSextirpated, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, ND, NEextirpated, NH, NJ, NVexotic, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY
Canada AB, BC, LB, MB, NB, NF, NS, NT, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: WILDSPACETM 2002


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AL Jackson (01071)
CA Humboldt (06023)
ID Ada (16001), Bannock (16005), Cassia (16031), Custer (16037), Lemhi (16059), Shoshone (16079)
NE Nemaha (31127)*, Richardson (31147)*
WA Chelan (53007)+, Kittitas (53037)+
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
06 Wheeler Lake (06030002)+
10 Tarkio-Wolf (10240005)+*
17 Upper Coeur D'alene (17010301)+, Wenatchee (17020011), Upper Yakima (17030001), Portneuf (17040208)+, Upper Snake-Rock (17040212)+, Big Lost (17040218)+, Boise-Mores (17050112)+, Lemhi (17060204)+
18 Lower Klamath (18010209)+, Trinity (18010211)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: Drumming and mating peak in mid-March in Missouri, early April in Indiana, and late April in Minnesota, early May in far north. The first eggs are laid in April or May, depending on the location (latitude). Clutch size is 4-19 (generally 9-12). Incubation, by female, lasts 23-24 days. Nestlings are precocial, downy; can fly in 10-12 days. Young are tended by female. Broods break up in fall when young about 84 days old; young disperse (Terres 1980), at about 120-125 days in Wisconsin (Small and Rusch 1989). In Alberta, about 50% of young survived from fall to spring (Rusch and Keith 1971). Single-brooded, but females may renest of first nesting attempt is unsuccessful. Sexually mature in one year; uncommonly lives more than 5 years. Cold wet weather in May/June may cause high losses among broods.
Ecology Comments: Population densities may fluctuate dramatically. Some populations exhibit an approximately 10-year cycle of abundance. Spring density generally about 2-10/40ha; fall density up to 20-55/ha; densities highest in boreal forest region (Crawford 1986). Good habitats support densities better than 1 breeding male per 8 ha (Atwater and Schnell 1989).

Home range of brood about 6-19 ha, averages about 16 ha (40 acres). In Missouri, mean home range of adult males was 104 ha in fall-winter, 67 ha in spring-summer (Thompson and Fritzell 1989); Crawford 1986 reported examples of male and female home ranges that ranged from 2-12 ha. Mature and some immature males may defend a territory.

In Wisconsin, juvenile females in fall dispersed average of 4.8 km to winter range, males 2.1 km; in other areas dispersal distance often less than 2 km; juvenile males may wander extensively in spring (Small and Rusch 1989).

Usually roosts in small groups in winter. Fox predation often is an important cause of nesting failure. Other important predators include great horned owl and, in north, goshawk. In Alberta, predation by great horned owl declined when snowshoe hares were abundant (Rusch and Keith 1971). Shallow snow cover or icy crust on snow may reduce survival in winter by precluding access to subnivean shelter.

Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Palustrine Habitat(s): Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Conifer, Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Old field, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Habitat Comments: Dense forest with some deciduous trees, in both wet and relatively dry situations from boreal forest (especially early seral stages dominated by aspen) and northern hardwood ecotone to eastern deciduous forest and oak-savanna woodland (AOU 1983). Young forest provides optimum conditions. See Crawford (1986) for additional information on habitat and cover requirements. Nests in forests or woodlands with some deciduous trees. Nest usually at base of tree, bush or stump. Drumming areas and broods usually in areas with high density of woody stems. Broods select habitats with abundant ground cover. In Wisconsin, females nested in areas in which they wintered following natal dispersal (Small and Rusch 1989).
Adult Food Habits: Frugivore, Granivore, Herbivore, Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Frugivore, Granivore, Herbivore, Invertivore
Food Comments: Young eat mainly insects and spiders. During summer insects may comprise about 30% of diet of adults. Adults also eat many herbaceous plants (especially in spring and summer), seeds, fruits (especially in fall and winter), nuts, flowers, buds, and leaves of trees and shrubs. In many areas, aspen (in boreal region, especially staminate buds and catkins), willow, and/or Rosaceae, or birch, alder, and hazelnut buds and catkins, are important food resources in winter and spring. See Crawford (1986) for further details.
Adult Phenology: Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Diurnal
Length: 43 centimeters
Weight: 621 grams
Economic Attributes
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Economic Comments: The third most heavily harvested galliform in North America; 70% of harvest occurs in Minnesota, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin (Johnsgard 1973).
Management Summary
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Preserve Selection & Design Considerations: A management unit for providing total food and cover needs should be at least 10-16 ha (25-40 acres).
Management Requirements: Healthy populations may be able to withstand a 50% harvest without affecting spring density (Crawford 1986). See Williamson (no date), Crawford (1986), and Atwater and Schnell (1989) for information on habitat management (e.g., cutting, plantings, burning, grazing, etc.).
Monitoring Requirements: See Crawford (1986) and Wakeley et al. (1990) for information on census techniques (census of drumming males, roadside drumming counts, brood counts, etc.) and trapping and marking methods.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Grouse and Ptarmigan

Use Class: Not applicable
Subtype(s): Lek, Nesting Area, Nesting Season Foraging Area, Nonbreeding Habitat, Year-round Habitat
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of one or more birds in appropriate habitat.
Mapping Guidance: To the extent possible and practicable, occurrences should encompass the annual range of a population. If winter and summer ranges are distinctly separate, map using separate polygons. If they are more than 15 kilometers apart, separate breeding and nonbreeding occurrences should be created.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 15 km
Separation Justification: Unsuitable habitat includes open water as well as other habitats through or over which birds may travel but in which they do not nest or forage much if at all.

Occurrences are difficult to circumscribe because most species are partially migratory (i.e., some individuals migrate small or large distances whereas others are relatively sedentary) (see Schroeder and Braun 1993). Migrations may extend up to 12 kilometers in Blue Grouse (Pelren 1996), up to about 40 km (usually less than 25 km) in Greater Prairie-Chickens in Colorado (Schroeder and Braun 1993), and up to 170 km in Greater Prairie-Chickens in Wisconsin.

Adult male (and probably adult female) Lesser Prairie-Chickens have high fidelity to breeding leks (Giesen 1998), and some leks have persisted more than 30 to 40 years (Copelin 1963, Giesen 1998). Largest individual home ranges recorded are of males in winter; in Texas, these ranged from 331-1945 hectares (n = 4; Taylor and Guthery 1980a). Maximum movements between spring leks and late-fall relocations was 20.8 kilometers for subadults and 3.2 kilometers for adults (Campbell 1970). Combined home ranges of males and females associated with breeding leks ranged from 25.2 to 61.9 square kilometers (minimum convex polygon) in Colorado (n = 4 leks; Giesen 1991).

Female Greater Prairie-Chickens (T. c. attwateri) had winter home ranges as large as 910 hectares (Horkel 1979). Median female home range in late spring was 266 hectares (Schroeder 1991).

Summer home ranges of sharp-tailed grouse range from 13 to 406 hectares (summarized by Connelly 1998). Individuals generally fly less than 5 kilometers to a winter range (Giesen and Connelly 1993), but can fly up to 20 kilometers (Meints 1991). Some ptarmigan (e.g. Rock in northern North America) can be considered migratory.

Greater Sage-Grouse: average nest to lek distance about 3 kilometers (Connelly et al. 2000).

Separation distance is somewhat arbitrary and is less than the extent of known seasonal movements of some species. However, a longer separation distance in many cases likely would yield unreasonably large occurrences or, for some species, might join separate populations as single occurrences. Note that locations separated by a gap exceeding the separation distance should be treated as the same occurrence if there is evidence indicating that such patches encompass the same population (e.g., individuals are known to migrate between the patches).

Date: 26Apr2004
Author: Hammerson, G., and S. Cannings
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 11Apr1996
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/birdDistributionmapsmetadatav1.pdf.

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/mammalsDistributionmetadatav1.pdf.

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