Sharp-tailed Grouse is more white and tan than brown or gray and has a long, pointed tail with white outer tail feathers. Spruce and Blue Grouse are darker and lack the black subterminal tail band.
Ruffed Grouse are the most widely distributed resident game bird in North America, living now or recently in all of the Canadian Provinces and in 38 of the 49 states on the continent. Their range in the East extends from near the tree-line in Labrador to northern Georgia and northeastern Alabama, and they once occurred as far south as Arkansas in the central part of the continent, although now they occur only in isolated pockets west of the Appalachians and south of the states bordering the Great Lakes. Quite isolated populations live in the Black Hills of South Dakota and the Turtle Mountains in North Dakota.