Sharp-tailed Grouse Identification

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The Four Keys to ID

  • Size & Shape

    A tubby, chickenlike bird with small head, small bill, short legs, and medium-long, graduated (pointed) tail.

    Relative Size

    Smaller than a Ring-necked Pheasant, larger than a Gray Partridge.

    Relative Sizecrow sizedcrow-sized
    • Both Sexes
      • Length: 15.0-19.0 in (38.1-48.3 cm)
      • Weight: 21.0-31.0 oz (596-880 g)
      • Wingspan: 24.4-25.6 in (62-65 cm)

Regional Differences

In general Sharp-tailed Grouse in northern populations, which are found in bogs and brushy openings in the boreal forest, are darker, almost blackish, with more spotted upperparts, than birds in southern populations, which occur in open prairie habitats. A subspecies known as hueyi, from northeastern New Mexico, is now extinct.

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