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State Symbols: State Birds

Pennsylvania State Game Bird

Ruffed Grouse aka "partridge"

State Symbol: Pennsylvania State Game Bird - Ruffed Grouse

(Bonasa umbellus)

Adopted on June 22, 1931.

The ruffed grouse, (Bonasa umbellus,)was adopted as Pennsylvania's state game bird on June 22, 1931, the same day its state tree was adopted. Little has been recorded about the grouse's adoption. It was championed by Mrs. Harry J. Shoemaker, Chairman of birds and flowers and the officers of the State Federation of Women's Clubs.

Pennsylvania State Game Bird: Ruffed Grouse

State Symbol: Pennsylvania State Game Bird - Ruffed Grouse

The Ruffed Grouse, (Bonasa umbellus,) is a medium-sized grouse occurring in forests from the Appalachian Mountains across Canada to Alaska. It is non-migratory.

The Ruffed Grouse is frequently referred to as the "partridge". This is technically wrong - partridges are unrelated phasianids, and in hunting may lead to confusion with the Grey Partridge. That species was introduced to North America from Europe; it is a bird of open areas, not woodlands.

Identification Ruffed Grouse aka "partridge"

The Ruffed Grouse is approximately 18 inches in length. The color is two-toned reddish-brown and spotted on the back, and yellowish with dark bars beneath. The tail has 18 broad feathers, which appear to be half-diamond shaped when spread. The tarsus is partly feathered.

  • Length: 14 inches
  • Sexes similar
  • Medium-sized, stocky, round-winged, chicken-like bird
  • Crest at top of head
  • Blacish ruffs on sides of neck
  • Head, neck, and back brown or gray
  • Breast whitish with brown and black bars and chevrons
  • Long, squarish tail
  • Tail brown or gray with narrow black and pale bars and broad blackish subterminal band


Pennsylvania has not adopted an official state bird at this time. However, the state has adopted the ruffed grouse as the official state game bird (1931).

Settlers relied on this plump, red-brown bird with the feathery legs as part of their food supply. Sometimes called a partridge, the Ruffed Grouse is still a familiar sight in Pennsylvania's forests.

Pennsylvania Law

The law designating the ruffed grouse as the official Pennsylvania State game bird is Section § 1005  (State game bird) of the Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes and Consolidated Statutes, Title 71 (P.S. State Government), Part 1 (The Administrative Codes and Related Provisions) Chapter 6 (Provisions Similar or Closely Related to Provisions of the Administrative Code - Secretary and Department of Internal Affairs - State Emblems Section 1005

Title 71 P.S. State Government
I. The Administrative Codes and Related Provisions
Chapter 6. Provisions Similar or Closely Related to Provisions of the Administrative Code
Secretary and Department of Internal Affairs
State Emblems

§ 1005. State game bird

The ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus) is hereby selected, designated and adopted as the State game bird of Pennsylvania.

1931, June 22, P.L. 662, § 1.

71 P.S. § 1005, PA ST 71 P.S. § 1005

Taxonomic Hierarchy: Ruffed Grouse aka "Partridge"

Kingdom: Animalia - animals
Phylum: Chordata - chordates
    Subphylum: Vertebrata - vertebrates
Class: Aves - birds
Order: Galliformes - fowls, gallinaceous birds
Family: Phasianidae - grouse, pheasants, quail
Genus: Bonasa Stephens, 1819 - ruffed grouse
Species: Bonasa umbellus (Linnaeus, 1766) - ruffed grouse

Official State Birds
US map : Birds & Flowers
State Bird:  Bird selected (by the legislature) as an emblem of a State.
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