- Blue grouse are large birds, up to 53 centimetres (21 inches) long.
- Body colour is slate-gray; tail is solid black.
- Females of this species are stippled with light brown but are otherwise similar in colour to males.
- In Alberta, blue grouse occur only in the foothills and mountains. They spend their winters in high coniferous forests near
- Conifer needles and buds make up about 95 percent of the blue grouse winter diet.
- In spring, blue grouse move down to lightly wooded mountain valleys or foothills.
- Choosing an open area, the male sets up a territory, strutting and hooting to announce his presence and attract females.
Yellow-to-orange eye combs are enlarged, and tail feathers are fanned. White-based neck feathers are raised revealing bright
yellow or purple skin patches.
- After mating, the hen chooses a nest site, often at the base of a tree or under a log. She lays from 5 to 10 eggs that are
buff-colored, and finely spotted with light brown.
- Incubation takes about 25 days. When hatched, the brood leaves the nest with the hen.
- In late summer, large family groups disperse and individual or small groups of birds then make their way up to the forests
of their winter range.
Blue grouse are classified as Secure in the General Status of Alberta Wild Species report. See:
Hunting season information for this species is provided in the current Alberta Guide to Hunting Regulations. To view the
guide online or to order a printed copy, visit the My Wild Alberta website at:
Posted: Apr 7, 2009