Grouse Facts

Grouse Facts
Grouse is a type of game bird that belongs to the family of pheasants. There are 18 species of grouse that can be found in the cold regions of the northern hemisphere, including the areas near the Arctic Circle. Grouse inhabits deciduous forests, scrubland, moorland, prairie and tundra. Habitat destruction and hunting eliminate millions of grouse from their native habitats each year. Most species of grouse are able to reproduce quickly and recover their losses. Some species such as Gunnison grouse, Attwater's Prairie Chicken and Cantabrian capercaillie are listed as endangered.
Interesting Grouse Facts:
Grouse can reach 12 to 37 inches in length and 0.66 to 14.33 pounds of weight, depending on the species. Males are larger than females.
Grouse has flecked plumage. Feathers can be reddish, brown, grey or mahogany colored and covered with various spots and bars.
Grouse has stocky body and short legs. Some species have crest on the head, fan-shaped tail and large neck feathers.
Nostrils, legs and toes are feathered. Dense plumage keeps the body temperature stable and facilitates movement across the snow (feathers on toes act like snowshoes).
Grouse is ground-dwelling bird (it is adapted to the life on the ground), but it can fly short distances and perform twists and turns in the air.
Grouse is an omnivore (it eats plants and meat). Young birds eat insects and rodents, while adults eat flowers, buds, shoots, seeds, berries, fruits and grass.
During the winter, grouse hides in the 10 inches deep snow which provides insulation from the low temperatures.
Main predators of grouse are foxes, bobcat, coyotes and birds of prey.
Grouse are territorial animals. Male occupies territory of 6 to 10 acres that overlaps with territories of two nearby females.
Grouse are solitary birds. They occasionally gather in groups during the winter to feed on available food sources.
Mating season of grouse usually takes place during the spring.
Males of some species of grouse erect their neck feathers, expand their tails and use their wings to produce drum-like sound when they want to attract females.
After short copulation, female flies up to ½ miles away to build nest in the ground. Nest is cup-shaped, 6 inches wide, 3 inches deep and lined with vegetation. Female lays 8 to 14 eggs within a period of 2 weeks. Incubation period lasts 24 to 26 days.
Young birds are precocial, which mean that they are ready for the independent life almost immediately after birth. They are able to fly 5 days after birth and travel distance of 4 miles at the age of 10 days. Grouse reaches sexual maturity at the age of one year.
Grouse are able to survive up to 10 years, but they rarely live more than 1 year in the wild due to predation and diseases.

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