Sharp-tailed Grouse

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Sharp-tailed Grouse

Tympanuchus phasianellus
  • ORDER: Galliformes
  • FAMILY: Phasianidae
Basic Description

One of North America’s spectacular dancing grouse species, the Sharp-tailed Grouse gathers at open display grounds known as leks on spring mornings. Females watch intently as males bend low to the ground, raise their pointed tails skyward, and stamp their feet so fast they become a blur, all while inflating purplish air sacs to make quiet cooing noises. The rest of the year, these plump birds forage in grasslands, open fields, bogs, and forest or woodland, where they take to the trees to nibble buds and berries.

More ID Info
image of range map for Sharp-tailed GrouseRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

Find This Bird

The most rewarding way to look for Sharp-tailed Grouse is to visit a lekking ground on an early spring morning, when you’re likely to be treated to a captivating show of males dancing and scuffling. The birds use the same sites year after year; local birders or farmers may help you find them, although be sure to seek permission to access these sites. Better yet, check with a bird club or local tour group to find group outings, which minimize disturbance while yielding an incredible experience.

Other Names
  • Gallo de Las Praderas Rabudo (Spanish)
  • Tétras à queue fine (French)
  • Cool Facts