Thursday, January 17, 2008

Spruce Grouse

Spruce grouse in Alaska are known to be rather tame, and approaching them is often easy. They inhabit the dense spruce woods and feed on berries and spruce needles. The varied color and pattern in their feathers make them an attractive bird. Males have the distinct red band around the eye. A population distinction between the "Taiga" and "Franklin's" can be noted by the rusty band (Taiga) on the outside rim of the tail feathers--as observed in this male bird. It can be difficult to get acomplete bird in a frame, showing feet and all, and for this reason, I like this image. Additionally, the slight ruffle of the breast feathers shows distinct pattern. See more spruce grouse photos.

Male Spruce grouse, Brooks range forest, Alaska.
Canon 1Ds Mark II, 100-400 mm (235mm) f5.6L, 1/80 sec @f5.6, ISO 500

Male Spruce grouse have a distinctive red band around the eyes.

The rusty band on the tail feathers is one way to distinguish the "Taiga" population from the Franklin's population.

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