poetry and prose about place

Partridge and Grouse – which are you???

with 6 comments

In New Brunswick, we have three birds which I confuse and name ‘Partridge‘. Remember I am a botanist and come by my bird knowledge through secondary sources.


a ruffed grouse or a grey partridge? the first clue is habitat (the mainly hardwood woodlands)


The Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus) is a bird of the woodlands (mostly hardwood) and is the bird heard ‘drumming’ in our woods in spring. Its plumage varies from pale brown to bright mahogany. It has a fanning tail and head feathers which stand up like a crown. The feathers around the neck ruff up too. Since these birds are locally referred to as ‘partridge’, there can be confusion between the Ruffed Grouse, the Spruce Grouse and the Grey Partridge.


Ruffed Grouse crossing the Old Shepody Road in eastern New Brunswick


Ruffed Grouse in our grey woods


The Spruce Grouse (Falcipennis canadensis) is a bird of mainly coniferous woodlands. It eats spruce and pine needles. It is a chicken-like bird with variable plumage, mostly grey and black in the male and grey-brown in the female. The bird has a fanning tail, but does not raise its head feathers the way the Ruffed Grouse does. For a good photo of the Spruce Grouse see

The Grey Partridge (Perdix perdix) is a bird of open areas and grass lands. It is a roundish bird with a brown back and grey sides and neck. The chest-area has a darker brown mark. When startled, the bird flies upwards on rounded wings. For a good photo of a Grey Partridge see


All my best,


Written by jane tims

July 6, 2018 at 4:32 pm

6 Responses

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  1. About 10-15 years ago I was out driving up to visit my father when I encountered a spruce grouse standing in the middle of the road. I’d never seen one before (and have never seen one since) and was struck by its very red eye-brow. It stayed there and blocked traffic for about five minutes until it finally decided to finish crossing the road. Dad & I had fun using his bird guides to identify it when I got to his house. I don’t think they’re very common down here.

    Liked by 1 person

    Barbara Rodgers

    July 9, 2018 at 8:14 am

  2. Interesting, very interesting. The perdix perdix is the Spanish perdriz / partridge, I think. Yet there are many name changes among the Spanish birds too, and regional variations. Same with the fish, that change names and colors among the different coastal sea bottoms, yet remain the same species. So troubling for us apprentice linguists.

    Liked by 1 person


    July 6, 2018 at 7:12 pm

  3. .mceResizeHandle {position: absolute;border: 1px solid black;background: #FFF;width: 5px;height: 5px;z-index: 10000}.mceResizeHandle:hover {background: #000}img[data-mce-selected] {outline: 1px solid black}img.mceClonedResizable, table.mceClonedResizable {position: absolute;outline: 1px dashed black;opacity: .5;z-index: 10000} a:hover { color: red; } a { text-decoration: none; color: #0088cc; } a.primaryactionlink:link, a.primaryactionlink:visited { background-color: #2585B2; color: #fff; } a.primaryactionlink:hover, a.primaryactionlink:active { background-color: #11729E; color: #fff; } /* @media only screen and (max-device-width: 480px) { .post { min-width: 700px; } } */ body { font-family: arial; font-size: 0.8em; } .post, .comment { background-color: white; line-height: 1.4em; } Hi Jane.  Our two native Grouse are , Ruffed and Spruce.  The Grey Partridge was introduced, I don't believe they have been seen in N.B. for years now. Jim Brown

    Liked by 1 person

    Jim Brown

    July 6, 2018 at 5:10 pm

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