Foods of Ruffed Grouse From Three Locations in the Southern Appalachian Mountains

An analysis was made of 574 ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus) crops and 157 gizzards collected during fall and winter from 3 locations in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Grouse crops from the northernmost localities contained more woody twigs and attached buds than grouse crops from locations farther south, and crops from southernmost localities contained more leaves of woody plants than crops from more northern areas. Plants common in grouse diets from all localities included leaves and fruits of greenbrier (Smilax spp.), the leaves of mountain-laurel (Kalmia latifolia), the fruits of grapes (Vitis spp.) and oaks (Quercus spp.), and the herbaceous plant, Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides). The major portion of the diets consisted of green leaves (64.5%), fruits (28.9%), twigs and buds (5.4%), and animal matter (1.2%).

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