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MDC to seek elusive answers about ruffed grouse

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A public-private partnership will determine the practicality of once again restocking grouse.

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News & Events

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"News & Events" for the December 2011 Missouri Conservationist.

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Photo of ruffed grouse standing on a log

Ruffed Grouse

Bonasa umbellus
Restoration efforts are raising the numbers of this chickenlike bird in our state. Look for brown, rufous, and gray streaks, bars, and bands. A dark ruff on the neck appears on both sexes but is used by the male in courtship displays.

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Photo of ruffed grouse standing on a log

Ruffed Grouse

The ruffed grouse is a chickenlike bird with brown, rufous, and gray color morphs. Adults are streaked above and barred below. The tail has a dark bar near the tip, but females lack the dark band on central tail feathers. Both sexes have a dark ruff on the neck. There is also a crest atop the head, though it sometimes lies flat.

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Photo of ruffed grouse standing on a rock ledge

Ruffed Grouse

Habitat loss is a primary reason grouse numbers have declined. They require different specific habitats during different parts of their seasonal cycle. MDC is working to assist landowners to provide the habitat grouse need for food, cover, breeding, drumming, nesting, and overwintering.

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Photo of male ruffed grouse performing booming display

Ruffed Grouse Booming

Both sexes of ruffed grouse have a dark ruff on the neck; the male uses the ruff in spring to display to females. In April, males perform distinctive courtship displays at dawn and dusk, usually standing on a fallen log and making rapid forward wingbeats, creating a low, pumping noise, with accelerating speed.

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Photo of female ruffed grouse on nest

Ruffed Grouse On Nest

Female ruffed grouse are ground-nesters, usually laying about 6–8 eggs. Habitat improvements implemented to boost grouse populations are good for numerous other species of plants and animals as well.

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Upland Game Bird Hunting

Whether your quarry is dove, pheasant, quail or other upland game bird, you'll find info on permits, techniques and prime hunting spots here.

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