(redirected from grouses)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Idioms.


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.
..... Click the link for more information.
, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Galliformes, family Tetraonidae.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.


(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
References in periodicals archive ?
The sense in such measures is questionable, however, as not even the protected bird area can prevent logging of calamity wood which threatens grouses the most."If we do not stop logging in old mountain forests immediately, then wood grouse will totally disappear from our forests," said Karol Kalisky, environmentalist and photographer.
Foresters plant too many trees in bare areas, subsequently destroying the natural habitat of western capercaillie (or wood grouse, Tetrao urogallus).One of the symbols of Slovak forests, the wood grouse (Tetrao urogallus), has been dying out for more than 30 years.
The weather on estates in Scotland and North East England provided "perfect conditions" for gamesmen, the Scottish Gamekeepers' Association said, with a light mist preventing the moors from getting too dry and a gentle breeze stirring up the grouses' scent for the country's gundogs to sniff out.
GAMEKEEPERS yesterday predicted a successful grouse shooting season in the region despite fears over the recession and poor weather.
Determining the age of pinnated and sharp-tailed grouses. Auk 8:170-171.
The only indication of endoparasites found in male sharp-tailed grouse collected during the breeding season from the western James Bay region of northern Ontario, Canada, were nematode eggs of an unknown species.
SPRINGWATCH host Chris Packham has urged Marks and Spencer bosses to drop plans to sell red grouse.
He also claims grouse sold in supermarkets is often "toxic" because of the level of lead shot, used to kill the birds, in the meat.
The Ruffed Grouse Society (RGS) has announced a limited raffle drawing for a new Parker Gun AAHE 28-gauge side-by-side shotgun, commissioned to the Remington Arms Co.
Each ticket costs $100 and can be purchased by contacting the Ruffed Grouse Society at (412) 262-4044.
The sage grouse is a widely ranged, sparsely distributed species that lives in the vast "Sagebrush Sea" in the western US and Canada.