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common name for a game bird of the colder parts of the Northern Hemisphere. There are about 18 species. Grouse are henlike terrestrial birds, protectively plumaged in shades of red, brown, and gray. The nostrils are entirely hidden by feathers, and the legs are partially or completely feathered.

The most common eastern American grouse is the ruffed grouse (sometimes miscalled partridge or pheasant), Bonasa umbellus, a forest bird noted for the drumming sound made by the male during its elaborate courtship dance. The ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus), or snow grouse, is an arctic species that migrates to the NW United States in winter, when its plumage changes from rusty brown to white, matching the snow. Western American grouse include the prairie chicken, Tympanuchus cupido, once common in the East, and the sage grouse, Centrocercus urophasianus. The latter, called also sage hen, sage cock, or cock of the plains, is the largest American grouse (25–30 in./62.5–70 cm long) and so named because its flesh tastes strongly of sage—the result of feeding on sagebrush buds. The males of both these species are distinguished by yellow air sacs on the neck that inflate to an enormous size during courtship. European species include the capercaillie, the largest grouse (roughly the size of turkey), and the black grouse. The red grouse is found in Great Britain.

Striking fluctuations in the abundance of all grouse species occur in intervals of 7 to 10 years. A combination of factors, rather than a single explanation, appears to be the cause for this not entirely understood phenomenon. Fortunately, grouse have high reproductive rates, which enable them to restore their populations after a low-level period.

Grouse are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Galliformes, family Tetraonidae.

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(vertebrate zoology)
Any of a number of game birds in the family Tetraonidae having a plump body and strong, feathered legs.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


any gallinaceous bird of the family Tetraonidae, occurring mainly in the N hemisphere, having a stocky body and feathered legs and feet. They are popular game birds
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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The UK's grouse shooting season has officially begun, with mixed prospects as the industry recovers from a poor season last year.
Environmental and animal welfare campaigners say driven grouse shooting, where the birds are driven towards the hunters by beaters, is cruel and want to see it banned.
It marks the official start of the four-month shooting season for red grouse in the UK and Ireland, however, much like last year.
OVER 125,000 people have signed a petition calling on Yorkshire Water to ban grouse shooting on moorland.
As the mesmerising sound of nature's dawn chorus fills the early morning, groups of male black grouse will meet and show off to females through their wonderful "lekking" tradition.
Predation by mammalian and avian predators is an important cause of mortality in grouse species during all life stages and has been linked to impaired reproductive performance.
Then came the long, dry summer, a recipe for a poor year for heather and therefore for red grouse too.
THE 'Glorious Twelfth' - or the 'Inglorious Twelfth', as it's often more appropriately referred to - marks the start of the annual red grouse shooting season, when socalled 'sports people' gear up to kill about half a million grouse.
Other factors impacting the grouse include infestations by bloodsucking ticks - the insects, as well as the landed gentry.
Synopsis: Following his English setters into thickets in search of grouse and woodcock, Mark Parman feels the pull of older ways and lost wisdom.
It was early spring, and the male ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus) was protecting his newly proclaimed territory: about 10 acres of young deciduous forest in front of my brother's house in Western New York.