Birda Logo
Species Guide
A photo of a Spruce Grouse (Canachites canadensis), male
Spruce Grouse, Male

Spruce Grouse

Canachites canadensis

The spruce grouse, or Canachites canadensis, known colloquially as the Canada grouse, spruce hen, or fool hen, is a medium-sized grouse that is intimately connected with the coniferous boreal forests, or taiga, of North America. It stands as the sole representative of its genus, Canachites. This bird is notably arboreal, adept at perching and navigating the tree branches of its woodland home.

Identification Tips

Males of this species typically measure 38–43 cm in length and weigh between 550–650 g, while females are slightly lighter at 450–550 g. The males are predominantly grey above and black below, adorned with white spots along their sides and a distinctive red patch of bare skin over the eye known as the "eyebrow comb." Females exhibit a mottled brown or grey plumage with dark and white barring on the underparts. Juveniles bear a resemblance to the females. The spruce grouse can be distinguished from similar species, such as the ruffed grouse, by its dark tail with a pale terminal band and its lack of crown feather erection when alarmed.


The spruce grouse is a denizen of coniferous forests, showing a preference for pine, spruce, or fir. It is often found in young successional stands and, during summer, in areas with a rich understory of blueberries and other shrubs. In winter, it favors denser stands for shelter.


This grouse is widespread across Canada and inhabits parts of Alaska, northern New England, the Adirondacks in New York, northern Michigan, northeastern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, and the montane coniferous forests of Montana, Idaho, Maine, Oregon, and Washington.


The spruce grouse is a ground-dweller, preferring to walk or move along tree limbs rather than take flight, which it typically reserves for short distances. In the fall, it grows "snow shoes" on its toes to aid in traversing snow and gripping branches, which are shed come spring.

Song & Calls

While generally quiet, the spruce grouse does have a repertoire of calls for various purposes such as predator warning, territory defense, and brood cohesion. The subspecies franklinii is known for a wing-clap display by territorial males, producing sharp claps that can be heard from a distance.


The spruce grouse is a promiscuous species, with males establishing territories that females visit for mating. Females are solely responsible for nesting and rearing the young. Nesting occurs from early May to early July, with females laying up to 10 eggs. Incubation lasts about 24 days, and chicks are precocial, leaving the nest within hours of hatching.

Diet and Feeding

In winter, the spruce grouse feeds primarily on conifer needles, while in summer, it consumes berries, green plants, fungi, and some insects. The bird's digestive system adapts seasonally to accommodate its diet, with an increase in the size of the caeca and ventriculus during winter.

Conservation status

The spruce grouse is classified as Least Concern by the IUCN. However, it is considered threatened at the southern edge of its range, with varying levels of protection and hunting regulations across different states and provinces.

App logo
Birda is a birdwatching app and community aimed at curious people who want to deepen their connection with nature.

Spruce Grouse on Birda


More Pheasants & Allies

Birda Logo

Your birdwatching journey like never before

Connect with nature in minutes
Take a walk, look out of the window and log the birds that you see. Feel good about those little connections to nature.
Discover the joy of birding
Find new birding spots, see more birds, share and celebrate with a like-minded community of nature lovers.
Play your part in saving nature
Logging your birding sightings and sessions turns into positive action for our planet. Every sighting counts.

Birda Blog

What Our Birders Say
Talli A
My favourite app
As a young birdwatcher who was always keen to be apart of a community but never seemed to find one, my problem was solved downloading this!!! Everyone is so friendly and just as excited to see birds as me 😁
Alex J
Friendly and helps to identify birds
Great birding app, good for logging your sightings, also has nice species guide. I'm enjoying the social aspect more than I expected, everyone seems friendly and helps to identify unknown birds. Good mix of newbies and experienced users.
Terrific App for Birders
Downloaded Birda around the time my interest in birding was sparked, and it has been a terrific app to help me (1) share my experience, (2) document my sightings, and (3) learn more about birds in general. That said, I also believe Birda is a fantastic app for birders of all experience levels. Great community!
Fantastic app - Love it!
Love this app and have used it almost daily. Lots of species information and easy to use. Love seeing birds spotted by other users in the UK and worldwide.
The best bird logging app
Birda is honestly the best bird logging app I have seen. I love all the features it has from being able to do a session and log all the birds you see in one sitting, to being able to connect with other birders from all over the globe!
Mike T
Sense of Community
A great app, which is continually being improved. What really comes through is the passion of those behind the app. The sense of community is brilliant, so much help and support provided to new and/or in experienced birders.
Robred 2
Fun way to add to your birdwatching experience
I enjoy watching birds in my backyard, but this app helped me really pay attention while on vacation this summer. It was fun to add new birds to my bird watching app.
Emma L
App got me interested in birding!
Super friendly community <3 This app got me interested in birding! It teaches me cool stuff and its super friendly, and fun :) The species guide is really developing my knowledge, and i love seeing cool new birds from round the world!
Learning Birding with Birda
I’m relatively new to birding as a hobby, and Birda is a great way to keep track off all the species I see. I’m still working on my ID skills, but the app is great for figuring out potential species, and the online community is so friendly and helpful. Definitely recommend Birda to both early and serious birders! 🐦
Jake W
Great app
I use this app all the time as it’s quick and easy to log individual sightings or whole birding sessions. It’s an excellent way to meet new people and the forum is full of really friendly people. The challenges are a great way to get involved and learn more about birds. Cannot recommend it enough!
As featured in
Birda Logo
AboutPressAmbassadorsAffiliatesInfluencersCareersPrivacyTerms & Conditions
An app for birdwatchers
Connect with us
Copyright Β© 2024 Chirp Birding. All rights reserved.