Classification: Where does the ruffed grouse fit?


Domain Eukarya Cells have nuclear envelopes and membrane-bound organelles
Kingdom Animalia Organisms are multicellular, heterotrophic, and do not have cell walls
Phylum Chordata Organisms have a notochord (skeletal rod), a tubular nerve chord, pharyngeal pouches, an endostyle, and a postanal tail at some point in development.
Class Aves Organisms are endothermic, have feathers, and have a specialized breast bone to enable flight (or at least the flapping of wings)
Order Galliformes Chicken-like gamebirds with a stocky body, small head, and short wings
Family Phasianidae Ground-based game birds that nest and feed primarily at ground level including pheasants, partridges, grouse, and chicken
Genus Bonasa Many species of grouse that have short wings and banded, fan-shaped tail feathers
Species Umbellus Characteristic ruff on neck

Head shot!  Photo by Andy MolloyThe scientific name Bonasa umbellus can be broken down into the Latin words bonus which means good and assum which means roast.  The ruffed grouse is a popular game bird, so we can assume that bonasa means good when roasted.  As for the second part of the name, umbellus can be translated to mean umbrella or sun-shade, referring to the tufts at the neck of the ruffed grouse.
The common name grouse is from the French word greoche, which means spotted bird.

Phylogenetic tree, created by author