WDFW LogoWashington Department of Fish & Wildlife
  HELP | EMPLOYMENT | NEWS | CONTACT  
WDFW LogoConservation

For more information on species & ecosystem science:

Wildlife Science
360-902-2515
wildthing@dfw.wa.gov

Fish Science
360-902-2700
fishpgm@dfw.wa.gov

Habitat Science
360-902-2534
habitatprogram@dfw.wa.gov

 
 

Lead Scientist: Michael A. Schroeder

Ecoregions: North Cascades, Modoc Plateau and East Cascades, Northern Rockies

Ecological Systems: Northern Rocky Mountain Dry-mesic Montane Mixed Conifer Forest, Northern Rocky Mountain Mesic Montane Mixed Conifer Forest, East Cascades Mesic Montane Mixed-Conifer Forest and Woodland, Rocky Mountain Lodgepole Pine Forest, Rocky Mountain Subalpine Dry-mesic Spruce-Fir Forest and Woodland, Rocky Mountain Subalpine Mesic-wet Spruce-Fir Forest and Woodland

 
Click on photo to enlarge
Click on photo to enlarge
  Male spruce grouse (Franklin’s subspecies) in Washington are characterized by a striking contrast of black and white on the breast and tail. Note the solid black tail feathers bright white on the upper tail coverts (feathers in front of the tail). The Franklin’s subspecies has a ‘wing clap’ display (male ‘claps wings twice behind back in mid-flight) that is not performed in the other subspecies.
 
Click on photo to enlarge
Click on photo to enlarge
  Female spruce grouse (Franklin’s subspecies) are extremely mottled when compared with males. Females do not vary much between the subspecies.
 
Click on photo to enlarge
Click on photo to enlarge
  Male spruce grouse of the Canada subspecies differ from males in Washington in that the tail feathers are tipped with brown and the upper tail coverts do not have bright white tips. Their breeding display is also different since they do not ‘wing clap’.

Grouse Ecology

Spruce Grouse Ecology

Spruce grouse (Falcipennis canadensis) are a common species of the boreal forest in Canada and portions of the northern tier states. In Washington, they are found in the northeastern parts of the state and in the Cascades (primarily on the east slopes in higher elevation forests). They are generally associated with spruce-fir (Picea-Abies) forests, but often have a preference for moist habitats dominated by lodgepole (Pinus contorta). These forests tend to be successional due to periodic forest fires.

Some have recommended classification of the spruce grouse as two separate species; the Franklin’s spruce-grouse (found in Washington) and the Canada spruce-grouse (found in Alaska, most of Canada, and north-central and northeastern states). This re-classification would actually be a revision to the way spruce grouse were classified during most of the 1900s.

The Franklin’s spruce-grouse has a distribution in Washington, northeastern Oregon, Idaho, Montana, southwestern Alberta, and southern British Columbia. It faces increasing conservation concerns due to the impact of pine bark beetles, vast areas of forest clear cuts in southern British Columbia, and an increase in the rate of replacement forest fires throughout the range. The fires and clear cuts are related in large measure to the effects of pine bark beetles, but also spruce budworm.

Current Research

Publications

Other Links and Resources


Click on map to enlarge
Click on map to enlarge
 
Click on map to enlarge
Click on map to enlarge

The approximate distribution of spruce grouse in North America (Schroeder 2004).

 

The approximate distribution of spruce grouse in Washington (Schroeder 2005).

     
Click on photo to enlarge
Click on photo to enlarge
 
Click on photo to enlarge
Click on photo to enlarge

View of spruce grouse habitat near Roger Lake west of Tiffany Mountain in the Okanogan National Forest, Washington in 2001.

 

View of spruce grouse habitat near Roger Lake west of Tiffany Mountain in the Okanogan National Forest, Washington in 2004. Note the red tint on the trees on the ridgetop due to pine beetles and spruce budworm.

     
Click on photo to enlarge
Click on photo to enlarge
 
Click on photo to enlarge
Click on photo to enlarge

View of spruce grouse habitat near Roger Lake west of Tiffany Mountain in the Okanogan National Forest, Washington in 2010. The area burned in 2007. The fire was particularly large and hot due to the number of dead and dying trees in the forest.

 

Spruce grouse nest on the ground, usually in an area concealed by understory vegetation and logs.

All photos unless otherwise indicated are courtesy of Michael A. Schroeder