Sharp-tailed Grouse

Sharp-tailed Grouse

name = Sharp-tailed Grouse
status = LC
status_system = iucn3.1

regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Aves
ordo = Galliformes
familia = Phasianidae
subfamilia = Tetraoninae
genus = "Tympanuchus"
species = "T. phasianellus"
binomial = "Tympanuchus phasianellus"
binomial_authority = (Linnaeus, 1758)
synonyms ="Pedioecetes phasianellus"

The Sharp-tailed Grouse, "Tympanuchus phasianellus", is a medium-sized prairie grouse. It is also known as the sharptail, and is known as "fire grouse" or "fire bird" by Native American Indians due to their reliance on brush fires to keep their habitat open. [] Males weigh an average of 33.5 oz. (951 g) and females average 29 oz. (815 g). The Greater Prairie-chicken, Lesser Prairie-chicken, and Sharp-tailed Grouse make up the genus "Tympanuchus", a genus of grouse found only in North America.

There are six subspecies of Sharp-tailed Grouse:
* "T. p. phasianellus": the nominate race or Northern sharp-tailed grouse is found in Manitoba, northern Ontario, and central Quebec. Partially migratory.
* "T. p. kennicotti": the Northwestern sharp-tailed grouse, resident from the Mackenzie River to Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories, Canada.
* "T. p. caurus": the Alaska sharp-tailed grouse, north-central Alaska east to the southern Yukon, northern British Columbia, and northern Alberta.
* "T. p. columbianus": the Columbian sharp-tailed grouse can be found in isolated pockets of native sagebrush and bunchgrass plains of Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and British Columbia.
* "T. p. campestris": the Prairie sharp-tailed grouse, lives in southeastern Manitoba, southwestern Ontario, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to northern Minnesota and northern Wisconsin. This subspecies coexists with the Plains race around the northern Red River valley and prefers low seral stages of recently converted forests to shrubland.
* "T. p. jamesi": the Plains sharp-tailed grouse makes its home in the northern Great Plains in southern Alberta and Saskatchewan, eastern Montana, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, and northeastern Wyoming. This race lives in the mixed grass prairie preferring a mosaic of native grasslands, cropland, and brushy/woody riparian draws, creeks, and rivers for a winter food source above the snow cover as buds and berries.

Adults have a relatively short tail with the two central (deck) feathers being square-tipped and somewhat longer than their lighter, outer tail feathers giving the bird its distinctive name. The plumage is mottled dark and light browns against a white background, they are lighter on the underparts with a white belly uniformly covered in faint "V"-shaped markings. Adult males have a yellow comb over their eyes and a violet display patch on their neck. The female is smaller than the male and can be distinguished by the regular horizontal markings across the deck feathers as opposed to the irregular markings on the males deck feathers which run parallel to the feather shaft. Females also tend to have less obvious combs.

These birds forage on the ground in summer, in trees in winter. They eat seeds, buds, berries, forbs, and leaves, also insects, especially grasshoppers, in summer.

These birds display in open areas known as leks with other males, anywhere from a single male to upwards of 20 will occupy one lek (averaging 8-12). Males stamp their feet rapidly, about 20 times per second, and rattle their tail feathers while turning in circles or dancing forward. Purple neck sacs are inflated and deflated during display. The females select the most dominant one or two males in the center of the lek, copulate, and then leave to nest and raise the young in solitary from the male. Occasionally a low-rank male may disguise himself as a female and walk to where the dominant male is and fight him.

These birds are declining in numbers and range due to habitat loss, but overall they are not considered a threatened species.

This is the provincial bird of Saskatchewan.

filename=Tympanuchus phasianellus.ogg
title="Tympanuchus phasianellus" call
description=Bird call of the Sharp-tailed Grouse ("Tympanuchus phasianellus")


*|year=2004|id=47090|title=Tympanuchus phasianellus|downloaded=11 May 2006 Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
* (2004): Morphology, Phylogenetic Taxonomy, and Systematics of "Ichthyornis" and "Apatornis" (Avialae: Ornithurae). "Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History" 286: 1-179 [ PDF fulltext]
* (1987): Habitat suitability index models: plains sharp-tailed grouse. "U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv. Biol. Rep." 82: 10.142. 31 pp. [ PDF fulltext]

External links

* [ Sharp-tailed Grouse Species Account] - Cornell Lab of Ornithology
* [ Sharp-tailed Grouse Information and Photos] - South Dakota Birds and Birding
* [ Sharp-tailed Grouse "Tympanuchus phasianellus"] - USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • sharp-tailed grouse — noun large grouse of prairies and open forests of western North America • Syn: ↑sprigtail, ↑sprig tail, ↑Pedioecetes phasianellus • Hypernyms: ↑grouse * * * noun : a large grouse (Pedioecetes phasianellus …   Useful english dictionary

  • sharp-tailed grouse — aštriauodegis prerinis tetervinas statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas atitikmenys: lot. Tympanuchus phasianellus angl. sharp tailed grouse vok. Schweifhuhn, n rus. острохвостый тетерев, m pranc. tétras à queue fine, m ryšiai: platesnis… …   Paukščių pavadinimų žodynas

  • sharp-tailed grouse — /shahrp tayld / a grouse, Pedioecetes phasianellus, of prairies and open forests of western North America, similar in size to the prairie chicken but with a more pointed tail. Also called sprigtail. [1775 85, Amer.] * * * …   Universalium

  • Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse — Conservation status …   Wikipedia

  • Sharp-tailed — may refer to:* Nelson s Sharp tailed Sparrow, small sparrow * Saltmarsh Sharp tailed Sparrow, small sparrow * Sharp tailed Grouse, medium sized grouse * Sharp tailed Sandpiper, small wader …   Wikipedia

  • Grouse — Male Sage Grouse Centrocercus urophasianus Scientific classification Kingdom: Anima …   Wikipedia

  • Grouse — (grous), n. sing. & pl. [Prob. after the analogy of mouse, mice, fr. the earlier grice, OF. griesche meor hen: cf. F. piegri[ e]che shrike.] (Zo[ o]l.) Any of the numerous species of gallinaceous birds of the family {Tetraonid[ae]}, and subfamily …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • sharp-tailedgrouse — sharp tailed grouse (shärpʹtāld ) n. A grouse (Pediocetes phasianellus) of the northwest United States and Canada, having a short pointed tail, a pale color, and dark V shaped breast markings. * * * …   Universalium

  • sharp-tail — (shärpʹtāl ) n. The sharp tailed grouse. * * * …   Universalium

  • grouse — grouse1 grouseless, adj. grouselike, adj. /grows/, n., pl. grouse, grouses. 1. any of numerous gallinaceous birds of the subfamily Tetraoninae. Cf. black grouse, capercaillie, ruffed grouse, spruce grouse …   Universalium

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