The Spruce Grouse, Dendragapus canadensis, is a medium-sized grouse. Their breeding habitat is the boreal forests or taiga across Alaska and Canada. It also occurs in the boreal forest that extends into the United States' northern border states. They nest on the ground in dense growth.
Adults have a long square black tail, brown at the end. Adult males are mainly grey with a black breast with white bars, a black throat and a red patch over the eye. Adult females are mottled brown with dark and white bars on the underparts. The Franklin's Grouse subspecies, D. c. franklinii, lacks the brown ends on the tail.
They are permanent residents. Some move short distances by foot to a different location for winter.
These birds forage on the ground or in trees in winter. The caeca, digestive sacs in the intestines, increase in size to support this bird's winter diet of conifer needles. In summer, they also eat berries, green plants, and some insects.
The Spruce Grouse has great confidence in its camouflage, and will often stay still even when approached within a few feet (1 m). It is this characteristic that has earned them the nickname "Fool Hens". During the winter months, however, the Spruce Grouse will become very skittish due to a lack of camouflage; they take flight when approached within 20-150 feet (6-45 m). A male on territory makes a drumming sound by flapping his wings.
Spruce grouse eat many pine and spruce tree buds, as they are high in energy. The also tend to eat pebbles, to help their gizzard digest their food.