Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Dusky Grouse

Dendragapus obscurus
Meet the Dusky Grouse, one of the largest Grouses in North America. Fun fact #1? Until recently it was thought to be a subspecies of the Blue Grouse. But the Blue Grouse is actually no more. DNA analysis split it up into two full-fledged species-- the Dusky Grouse and the Sooty Grouse.

These birds can be found in the Rocky Mountains of North America, and their habitat depends on the time of years. During the winter they live near-exclusively in the coniferous forests, but during the summer breeding season they will live in grasslands and low, dry mountain forests.

The Dusky Grouse has a really curious anatomical feature. Most bird species have about 10 tail feathers, and that number is the same bird to bird. The Dusky Grouse has anywhere from 15 to 22 tail feathers-- a huge variance!

Male and female Dusky Grouses are different in appearance. Females are grey-brown ans speckled, while males are darker brown and have a bare purple throat sack ringed with white feathers. They also have an eye-wattle that varies from yellow to red.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Western North America
Size : Length up to 18in (45cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Galliformes
Family : Phasianidae -- Genus : Dendragapus -- Species : D. obscurus
Image :  National Park Service

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