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The black bear (Ursus americanus) is the smallest and most widely distributed of the North American bears. Black bears east of the Mississippi are predominantly black, but in the Rocky Mountains and westward various shades of brown, cinnamon, and even blond are common. The head is moderately sized with a straight profile and tapering nose. The ears are relatively small, rounded, and erect. It is important to be able to distinguish between black bears and grizzly/brown bears (Ursus arctos). The grizzly/brown bear is typically much larger than the black bear.