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42cm. Mottled brown, chicken-like birds with a dark tail.
Northern populations of Dusky Grouse (Nevada-Idaho border north) lack the blue-gray tail band seen in Sooty Grouse, but Dusky Grouse in the southern part of the species range (Nevada, Utah, southward) do have the tail band.
Four subspecies accepted:
Was until 2006 considered conspecific with Dusky Grouse under the name Blue Grouse.
Conifer and mixed forests, shrub, desert, tundra, up to 3,600m. Not found in arid regions or plains.
Nonmigratory, but they move in elevation with the seasons, spending the summers in mixed deciduous forests and winter in conifers at higher elevations.
Relatively tame, they often allow close approach before walking or running into thickets.
The male inflates its colorful air sac during courtship to produce owl-like hoots that can be heard at considerable distance.
They nest in a ground scrape. Incubation is 25-26 days by the female.
Includes berries, tree buds, twigs, leaves, seed, and insects. In winter the diet includes conifer needles.
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