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Greater Sage Grouse
Greater Sage Grouse
Upland Game Bird Species

About Upland Game Bird Species

Oregon's rich and diverse habitats support 11 different species of upland game birds; many provide hunting opportunities while for two species there is no open season. Some of the species are native, and some, which have been introduced over the years, found a niche in habitats altered by human activities.

See each species, below, and follow links to more information and maps showing distribution of each species within the state.

Blue Grouse | Chukar Partridge | Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse | Greater Sage-grouse | Hungarian (Gray) Partridge | Mountain Quail | Ring-necked Pheasant | Ruffed Grouse | Spruce Grouse | Valley (California) Quail | Wild Turkey

Species Profile

Blue Grouse

Blue Grouse
Dusky Grouse
Dendragapus obscurus, Sooty Grouse Dendragapus fuliginosus

Blue grouse, an Oregon native, occupy the coniferous forests of western Oregon, the eastern slopes of the Cascades, the blue mountains of northeastern Oregon, and the Klamath Basin and south Warner Mountains. Preferred habitat includes timber edges, open timbered slopes and mountain meadows, often adjacent to springs or other sources of water.

Chukar Partridge

Chukar Partridge Alectoris chukar

The chukar partridge is an introduced species found in the dry, rimrock country of eastern Oregon. Oregon stocks originated from India and the first successful releases began in 1951. Over several decades, chukars were released into all suitable areas east of the Cascades.

Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse

Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse Tympanuchus phasianus columbianus

In 1929, Oregon closed its hunting season for sharp-tailed grouse and it has never re-opened. By the late 1960’s sharp-tailed grouse were believed to have been extirpated from Oregon. Since its extirpation, personnel of state and federal agencies and by private citizens have expressed interest in the reintroduction of Columbian sharp-tailed grouse into Oregon. This species, one of very few extirpated from Oregon, was absent from the state for over 2 decades.

Greater Sage-grouse

Greater Sage-grouse Centrocercus urophasianus

Sage grouse have a somewhat lower level of productivity, but are generally longer-lived than most other upland species. Also, during dry years, they may be concentrated in the vicinity of water sources. Some populations may be subject to over-exploitation. This has been dealt with by allocating hunting pressure through the issuance of hunting permits assigned to specific hunt areas. This is proposed to continue.

Hungarian (Gray) Partridge

Hungarian (Gray) Partridge Perdix perdix

The Hungarian partridge was first introduced into western Oregon in 1900 and in eastern Oregon in 1912. Initial stock was imported from central Europe, but later releases were made of birds produced on game farms. Although localized populations may have become established for a time in western Oregon, the species was generally not successful there, and no populations are found west of the Cascades today.

Mountain Quail

Mountain Quail Oreortyx picta

Mountain quail are native birds found on both sides of the Cascades. They are brush lovers, usually existing in widely separated family groups rather than large coveys like valley quail. They are larger than valley quail. Mountain quail thrive in the natural brushlands of southwestern Oregon and are also found in northwestern Oregon when suitable habitat is created by logging, fire or other disturbance. Greatest abundance occurs in southwestern Oregon, with numbers gradually decreasing as one moves north.

Ring-necked Pheasant

Ring-necked Pheasant Phasianus colchicus

The ringneck is a farmland species, heavily dependent on cereal grains and other seeds, and always thrives best where farming is the least efficient. In earlier times farming practices and the landscape were different than today and pheasants were more abundant. Farming techniques were relatively primitive, field sizes smaller, more areas were untilled and crops more diversified.

Ruffed Grouse

Ruffed Grouse Bonasa umbellus

The native ruffed grouse resides in most wooded sections of the state. It is a bird of the edge, preferring mixed hardwoods or a combination of hardwoods and conifers. Its abundance varies with the quality of the habitat, and fluctuates locally over time as the habitat changes through natural succession or alteration due to logging, fire, development and other factors. Ruffed grouse are most commonly found in brushy riparian areas in eastern Oregon and in early-aged mixed woodlands in western Oregon, although birds may be found in pockets of good habitat nearly anywhere

Spruce Grouse

Spruce Grouse Falcipennis canadensis

The spruce grouse is native to Oregon and found in coniferous forests across northern North America. However, Oregon is on the periphery of this species range and likely was never abundant in the state. Currently, spruce grouse can only be found in the Wallowa Mountains and Snake River divide of northeastern Oregon. Spruce grouse have been protected in Oregon for more than 45 years, with no open hunting season.

Valley (California) Quail

Valley (California) Quail Callipepla californica

The valley quail is a native species originally confined to the counties bordering California and Nevada. They were transplanted to other areas of the state so long ago (beginning as early as 1870) that most Oregonians do not realize they were introduced in most of Oregon. Valley quail are adaptable birds and may be found associated with agricultural and urban areas, as well as in riparian habitats located miles from human habitation.

Wild Turkey

Wild Turkey Meleagris gallopavo

Two turkey subspecies have been introduced to Oregon. The Merriam's wild turkey was the first subspecies released in the state. Live-trapped Merriam's turkeys were brought to Oregon from Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Nebraska and Montana. The Merriam's subspecies is native to mountainous woodland habitats from the southwestern United States to Central Colorado. The Merriam's turkey population in Oregon increased rapidly following initial releases and then stabilized at lower population levels after the initial expansion.

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