Types of Birds
Sometimes they get called the generic name, game birds. Other times they are known as partridges, grouse, turkeys, and quail.
Regardless, the twenty native North American Phasianidae, continue to serve as the focal point of a meal on dinner plates across North America. Ducks, also game birds, belong to a separate family.
Together with three other families, they constitute the order Galliformes.
The common name grouse generally applies to seven species in five genera.
Dusky Grouse (Dendragapus obscurus), formally called the Blue Grouse, now consists of two different species.
Native to the Northwest and Rocky Mountains, these short, plump birds live around in both high and low elevation forested areas.
The Sooty Grouse (Dendragapus fuliginosus) is a bird of the coastal areas.
The Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus), a small, commonly hunted game bird, inhabits northern boreal forests.
The National Audubon Society reports that deforestation has led to over a fifty percent decline in their population levels over the past forty years.
Ruffed Grouse grow to about the size of a chicken. Like other grouse, they are ground nesters that live on a diet of local fruits and seeds.
Picture two shows the Ruffed Grouse crossing the road. It is the official state bird for Pennsylvania.
Ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), South Dakota's state bird, inhabits North American fields, with the exception of the Southeast.
Red faced males stand apart from the more uniformly feathered females.
Three different crested quail (Callipepla) species, the California Quail (Callipepla californica), Gambel's Quail (Callipepla gambelii), and Scaled Quail (Callipepla squamata), reside in the Western United States.
The Gambel's Quail, a ground nesting, native species of the desert Southwest, lives among the region's cacti and scrub brush.
The top picture shows a female Gambel's, with the prominent head crest. Their diet consists of fruits, leaves and insects in their territory.
The California Quail (Callipepla californica) resides in Western scrub areas, and often makes the move to residential areas and gardens.
White striped faces help identify males. Gray breasts and a head crest are common for both genders.
While California Quail can fly, most spend their time in large groups or coveys, scratching on the ground for seeds and insects.
© 2009-2011. Patricia A. Michaels