Grizzly Bear North American Brown Bear Closeup. The grizzly bear (Ursus arctos ssp.) is any North American subspecies of brown bear, including the mainland grizzly (Ursus arctos horribilis), Kodiak bear (U. a. middendorffi), peninsular grizzly (U. a. gyas), and the recently extinct California grizzly (U. a. californicus†) and Mexican grizzly bear (U. a. nelsoni†). Specialists sometimes call the grizzly the North American brown bear because the grizzly and the brown bear are one species on two continents. It should not be confused with the black grizzly or Ussuri brown bear (U. a. lasiotus) which is another giant brown bear subspecies inhabiting Russia, Northern China, and Korea.