GALLIFORMES

Galliformes are heavy-bodied ground-feeding domestic or game birds. Most are plump-bodied with thick necks and moderately long legs, and have rounded and rather short wings. They do not fly well if at all, but walk and run instead for transportation. These birds vary greatly in size from 12-120 cm. Many adult males have one to several sharp horny spurs on the back of each leg, which they use for fighting. They can be found worldwide and in a variety of habitats, including forests, deserts, and meadows. Male courtship behavior includes elaborate visual displays of plumage. Gallinaceous birds feed on a variety of plant and animal material, which may include fruits, seeds, leaves, shoots, flowers, tubers, roots, insects, snails, worms, lizards, snakes, small rodents, and eggs.

Some of the Gallifrom families:
Cracidae: chachalac, curassow, guan.  Numididae : Guineafowl   Odontophoridae : New World Quail
Phasianidae: francolin, grouse, partridge, pheasant, Old World quail.



Grouse

Order Galliformes    Family Phasianidae   

Grouse inhabit temperate and subarctic regions of the northern hemisphere. They are heavily built like other Galliformes and range from 31-95 cm. Their legs are feathered to the toes, and in winter the toes too have feathers or small scales on the sides, an adaptation for walking on snow and burrowing into it for shelter. Unlike other Galliformes, they have no spurs. All grouse spend most of their time on the ground, though when alarmed, they may take off in a flurry and go into a long glide. These birds feed mainly on vegetationóbuds, catkins, leaves, and twigs. Several of the forest-living species are notable for eating large quantities of conifer needles, which most other vertebrates refuse.


Genus Bonasa - 1 species

Grouse, Ruffed Bonasa umbellus   Found: North America
The Ruffed Grouse has two morphs. The patterns are about the same, but brown in one morph and dark gray in the other. The ruffs are on the sides of the neck in both genders.
Similar to: Northern Bobwhite. Male Northern Bobwhite have a white throat and brow stripe bordered by black. Female Northern Bobwhite have tan brow stripe. Ruffed Grouse have plain face.
Similar to: Spruce Grouse. Ruffed Grouse have a head crest; Spruce Grouse do not. Male Spruce Grouse have a red mark above their eyes; Ruffed Grouse males do not. During courtship, Ruffed Grouse beat their wings to produce a loud drumming sound; Spruce Grouse drumming is soft in comparison.
Image by: 1) Mdf - Ontario, CA  2) Stonehorse Studios - Ontario, CA   3, 4) Alan D Wilson - British Columbia
1, 2, 3) Rufous type  4) Gray type



Genus Centrocercus
There are two species of sage-grouse. Adults have a long, pointed tail and legs with feathers to the toes.

Grouse, Greater Sage- also Sage Grouse  Centrocercus urophasianus Found: North America   (western USA, southwest Canada)
The male Greater Sage-Grouse has grayish upperparts; white breast and fluffy neck collar; dark brown throat; black belly; yellow patch over eye. Female has mottled gray-brown upperparts; light brown throat; dark belly.
Similar to: Gunnison Sage-Grouse. Gunnison Sage-Grouse formerly considered subspecies of Greater Sage-Grouse. Gunnison Sage-Grouse is about 1/3 smaller than Greater Sage-Grouse. Male Gunnison Sage-Grouse has much thicker and longer neck plumes.
Image by:  1, 4, 5) Alan D Wilson near Ten Sleep, Wyoming   2) Charlie Westerinen - Ruby Marsh in Nevada    3) Carfull  6) Jeannie Stafford, USFWS - California
1, 2, 3) Female 4, 5, 6) Male    



Grouse, Gunnison Sage- Centrocercus minimus   Found: North America (Colorado, southeast Utah)
Similar to: Greater Sage-Grouse. Gunnison Sage-Grouse formerly considered subspecies of Greater Sage-Grouse. Gunnison Sage-Grouse is about 1/3 smaller than Greater Sage-Grouse. Male Gunnison Sage-Grouse has much thicker and longer neck plumes.
Image by: 1) Shell Game - Colorado  2) Bryant Olsen - Utah  3) US Dept. of Interior
1, 2) Female  3) Male



Genus Dendragapus
Dusky Grouse and Sooty Grouse were formerly considered one species, the Blue Grouse.

Grouse, Dusky Dendragapus obscurus Found: Rocky Mountains of North America
The Dusky Grouse has long gray tail, square at the end, Adult male has mainly dark plumage; purplish throat air sac surrounded by white; yellow to red wattle over the eye during display season. Female has mottled brown plumage with dark and white marks on the underparts.
Similar to: Sooty Grouse. There is little overlap of range.
Image by:  1, 4, 5) Alan Vernon - Grand Tetons  2) Nick Chill - Utah  3) S. King, USNPS    6) Alan D. Wilson - Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming   7) USNPS  
1, 2, 3) Female  4 - 7) Male



Grouse, Sooty Dendragapus fuliginosus Found: Pacific Coast Ranges and Sierra Nevadas of North America
The Sooty Grouse has long gray tail, square at the end, Adult male has mainly dark plumage; yellow throat air sac surrounded by white; yellow wattle over the eye during display season. Female has mottled brown plumage with dark and white marks on the underparts.
Similar to: Dusky Grouse. There is little overlap of range.
Image by: 1, 3, 4) Walter Siegmund  2) Yathin
1, 2) Female  3, 4) Male



Genus Falcipennis

Grouse, Siberian  Falcipennis falcipennis  Found: far eastern Russia
Similar to: Spruce Grouse. The Siberian Grouse and Spruce Grouse are very similar in appearance. Their ranges do not overlap.
Image by: 1) Yury Stroykin  Franz Hafner - East Siberia
1) Female  2) Male


Grouse, Spruce Falcipennis canadensis   Found: North America
The male Spruce Grouse has mainly gray upperparts; black underparts; spotx on the flanks; red patch of bare skin above the eyes. Female has mottled brown (red morph) upperparts or mottled gray (gray morph) upperparts; dark and white bars on the underparts.
Similar to: Ruffed Grouse. Ruffed Grouse have a head crest; Spruce Grouse do not. Male Spruce Grouse have a red mark above their eyes; Ruffed Grouse males do not.. During courtship, Ruffed Grouse beat their wings to produce a loud drumming sound; Spruce Grouse drumming is soft in comparison.
Similar to: Siberian Grouse. The Siberian Grouse and Spruce Grouse are very similar in appearance. Their ranges do not overlap.
Image by: 1) Tyler Smith  2) Arthur Chapman - British Columbia  3) Jean-Guy Dellaire  4, 5, 6) Dick - Acadia National Park, Maine 
1) Chick  2, 3) Female  4, 5, 6) Male




Genus Tetrao

Grouse, Black  Tetrao tetrix   Found: Europe, Asia
The male Black Grouse has black plumage; red wattles; white wing-bar.
Image by: 1, 3) Steve Garvie - Scotland  2) Jniemenmaa
1) Female  2) Male


Capercaillie, Black-billed  Tetrao parvirostris  Found: eastern Russia, northern Mongolia and China
Similar to: Eurasian Capecaillie. The Eurasian Capercaillie is slightly larger, has a longer bill, and has a longer tail than the Black-billed Capercaillie. Their ranges do not overlap.
Image by: 1, 2) James St. John
1, 2) Male


Grouse,_Caucasian  Tetrao mlokosiewiczi  Found: Iran, Russia, Turkey
The male Caucasian Grouse has mainly black plumage; small white shoulder patch; red supercilium; long deeply forked tail. Female has gray plumage; with dark barring; small white shoulder patch.
Image by: 1) Johannes_Dag_Mayer  2) John_Gould


Capercaillie, Eurasian  also Wood Grouse  Tetrao urogallus   Found: Europe, Asia
The Eurasian Capercaillie is the largest member of the grouse family.
Similar to: Black-billed Capecaillie. The Eurasian Capercaillie is slightly larger, has a longer bill, and has a longer tail than the Black-billed Capercaillie. Their ranges do not overlap.
Image by: 1) Honza Sterba  2)) Woodwalker 3) David Palmer - Germany  4) Richard Bartz
1) Female  2, 3, 4) Male



Genus Tetrastes

Grouse,_Hazel  Tetrastes bonasia also Bonasa bonasia   Found: Europe, Asia
The Hazel Grouse has gray upperparts; brown wings; chestnut flecked white underparts. Male has short erectile crest; white bordered black throat. Female has shorter crest and lacks black on throat.
Image by: 1) John_Gould  2, 3) Tatiana_Bulyonkova  4) Sergey_Yeliseev


Grouse,_Severtzov's also Chinese Grouse  Tetrastes sewerzowi  also Bonasa sewerzowi  Found: central China
Similar to: Hazel Grouse. The Severtzov's Grouse has less white on its throat and no black near tip of tail.
Image by: 1) Unknown 2. 3) Tang_Jun  4) Summer_Wong



Genus Tympanuchus

Grouse, Sharp-tailed  Tympanuchus phasianellus  Found: North America
Similar to: Lesser Prairie-Chicken, Greater Prairie-Chicken. The stripe-like marks on the underparts of the Sharp-tailed Grouse are vertical; on the prairie-chickens they are horizontal.
Similar to: Ring-necked Pheasant. The female Ring-necked Pheasant and female Sharp-tailed Grouse are similar. The Ring-necked Pheasant has a longer tail.
Image by: 1) Peter Baer - North Dakota  2( Gerry Tuchod   3, 5, 6) Alan D. Wilson - South Dakota   4) David Mitchell  7) Andy Jewett, USFWS - North Dakota
1) Juvenile  2, 3) Female  4 - 7) Male



Prairie-Chicken, Greater  Tympanuchus cupido Found: North America 
Similar to: Lesser Prairie-Chicken. Greater Prairie-Chicken has darker and wider stipes than Lesser Prairie-Chicken.
Similar to: Sharp-tailed Grouse. The stripe-like marks on the underparts of the Sharp-tailed Grouse are vertical; on prairie-chickens they are horizontal.
Image by: 1, 2) Pat Gaines 3) George Lavendowski, USFWS - Texas
1, 2, 3) Male   3) Attwater's Prairie Chicjen (Tympanuchus cupido attwateri)


Prairie-Chicken, Lesser  Tympanuchus pallidicinctus Found: North America
Similar to: Greater Prairie-Chicken. Greater Prairie-Chicken has darker and wider stipes than Lesser Prairie-Chicken.
Similar to: Sharp-tailed Grouse. The stripe-like marks on the underparts of the Sharp-tailed Grouse are vertical; on prairie-chickens they are horizontal.
Image by:  1 Larry Lamsa - New Mexico  2) Dominic Sherony 3) Greg Kramos, USFWS - Kansas 
1, 2, 3) Male




PTARMIGAN

Family Phasianidae

Ptarmigans belong to genus  Lagopus. There are three species: the rock, white-tailed, and willow ptarmigans. The red ptarmigan was once considered a seperate species, but now is considered a subspecies of the willow ptarmigan. All of the species are circumpolar. Part or all of their plumage becomes white in the snow season to provide camouflage. As with game birds in general, most of the care of the young is done by the females.


Genus Lagopus

Ptarmigan, Rock  Lagopus muta Found: northern North America, Europe, Asia
The summer Rock Ptarmigan has gray and brown plumage; winter bird has white plumage with black tail.
Similar to Willow Ptarmigan. Willow Ptarmigan is not found above tree line; Rock Ptarmigan found on rocky mountainsides and in tundra. Willow Ptarmigan is slightly larger and has a thicker bill.  Willow Ptarigan has browner summer plumage than Rock Ptarmigan.
Image by: 1) Jan Frode Haugseth - Norway  2, 3) Alpsdake
1) Spring plumage, female in front  2) Female  3) Male


Ptarmigan, White-tailed Lagopus leucurus   Found: North America
White-tailed Ptarmigan is considerably smaller than other Ptarmigans. It is the only bird to permanently reside in the alpine zone. In summer it is speckled grayish brown; more reddish brown in the fall; completely white in winter.
Image by:  1) John Hill - Alberta, Canada  2) Peter Plage, USFWS   3) Calypso Orchard  4) Gail Hampshire - Colorado
1, 2, 3) Summer plumage  4) Winter


Ptarmigan, Willow  also Willow Grouse Lagopus lagopus   Found: northern North America, Europe, Asia
The summer male Willow Ptarmigan has marbled brown plumage with reddish hue to back and breast; black tail; white underparts, wings, eye-ring; inconspicuous wattle over the eye. Summer female similar; lacks wattles; some brown feathers on its mainly white belly. Both sexes are white in the winter with black tail.
Similar to Rock Ptarmigan. Willow Ptarmigan is not found above tree line; Rock Ptarmigan found on rocky mountainsides and in tundra. Willow Ptarmigan is slightly larger and has a thicker bill.  Willow Ptarigan has browner summer plumage than Rock Ptarmigan.
Image by: 1) Derek Ramsey 2) Joe Dsliva  3) Dick Daniels - Denali National Park  4) Travis S - Denali
4) Male


Grouse, Red  also Red Ptarmigan Lagopus lagopus scoticus    Found: Great Britain
Once considered a separate species, now a subspecies of the willow grouse.
Image by:  1) Dick Daniels - Scotland   2) Andrew - England





Back to Top