Minnesota Hunter Safety Course


Upland Birds


Bobwhite Quail

(Colinue virginianus)

The bobwhite quail is a bird predominately found in the East and Mexico, but has been introduced into some rocky mountain states. A subspecies, the Masked Bobwhite, is native to the South West and is on the endangered species list in some areas.

This small chunky bird will reach between 8 and 10 inches in length, and will typically be found in groups, known as "coveys".


Mourning Dove

(Zenaida macroura)

The mourning dove can grow to about 12-inches at most, with a long tail that is pointed, and bordered white. It is found in rural and urban areas, where trees and shrubs are plentiful; throughout North America. It is classified as a game bird in some states, and protected as a song bird in other states.


Greater Prairie Chicken

(Tympanuchus cupido)

The male of this species has distinct yellow air sacs on its neck that inflate during the courtship ritual. They are found in tall-grass prairies scattered throughout the Midwest. Note - in many areas the greater prairie chicken is on the endangered species list.


Ruffed Grouse

(Bonsa umbellus)

The ruffed grouse is found in the undergrowth of forests and pastures, mainly in the northern US and Canada, but can be found as far south as Georgia. They are easier to find in the wintertime, when the snow forces them up to treetops in order to feed.


Spruce Grouse

(Dendragapus canadensis)

The spruce grouse (also known as fool hen due to its tame nature) can grow to between 15 and 17 inches, is chicken-like with a tail that is fan-shaped. The male has the distinct red comb over its eye. This is a northern bird that is found through most of Canada and the northern range of the United States, in coniferous forests (spruce and pine), and on the edges of bogs or deep forests.


Sharp-Tailed Grouse

(Tympanuchus phasianellus)

This is the largest of the three grouse species common to North America. At 15 - 20 inches, the sharp-tailed grouse is only a little smaller than the female pheasant, and looks quite similar. Its distinct tail is pointed and short, with white outer tail feathers. This bird is found from New Mexico into Alaska, and eastward to Michigan in grasslands and brushlands that offer plentiful cover.


Ring-Necked Pheasant

(Phasianus colchicus)

The male of this species has a very distinct coloration, with a ring of white feathers around the base of its neck, hence its name. The female is a plain tan or brown color, and smaller than the male.

The ring-necked pheasant is a native of Asia, but has been introduced to many parts of North America. It is mostly found in woodlands or open prairie, with high grasses or brush which it uses for cover.


Gray Partridge (Hungarian Partridge)

(Perdix perdix)

The gray partridge is another bird native to Europe and Asia that was introduced to certain parts of North America. It has since adapted to reside in areas of agriculture, where no other game bird is found. A short and stocky bird, chicken-like in appearance, the gray partridge can reach about 12 to 14 inches in length.


Wild Turkey

(Meleagris gallopavo)

The wild turkey is the largest upland game bird found in North America. The male can grow to 48 inches in length, and the female up to 36 inches. The male is also distinguished by its spurs, and long beard on its breast. The female lacks the spurs, and usually has no beard either. The wild turkey ranges throughout most of the United States, and is found mainly in forests and woodlands, but might also be found in prairielands.