Sharp-tailed Grouse

(Tympanuchus phasianellus)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

Sharp-tailed Grouse


N4 - Apparently Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed


Locally common year-round resident


Oak savanna, grasslands, pastures, fields, bogs, fens, forest clearings


15 to 20 in length

25 wingspan

      Photo by Bill Reynolds

















Galliformes (megapodes, curassows, pheasants, quails, and relatives)



Phasianidae (turkeys, grouse, pheasants, and partridges)

Subordinate Taxa

Alaskan Sharp-tailed Grouse (Tympanuchus phasianellus caurus)

Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse (Tympanuchus phasianellus columbianus)

Great Plains Sharp-tailed Grouse (Tympanuchus phasianellus jamesi)

Mackenzie Sharp-tailed Grouse (Tympanuchus phasianellus kennicotti)

New Mexico Sharp-tailed Grouse (Tympanuchus phasianellus hueyi) (extinct)

Prairie Sharp-tailed Grouse (Tympanuchus phasianellus campestris)

Sharp-tailed Grouse (Tympanuchus phasianellus phasianellus)











Visitor Photos

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Bill Reynolds

For the past week, this Sharp-tailed Grouse has showed up in the morning for a few hours of foraging under the pines in my yard and then she is gone.

  Sharp-tailed Grouse   Sharp-tailed Grouse








  Sharp-tailed Grouse
Matt Stratmoen
  Sharp-tailed Grouse  




Visitor Videos

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Other Videos

  Dancing Sharp-tails
TJ Cadwalader

Published on Dec 1, 2012

A video showing the mating rituals of sharp-tail grouse.

  Real Angry Birds: Sharp-tailed Grouse Battle

Uploaded on Apr 26, 2010

Sharp-tailed Grouse square off in intense battles for territory and Breeding rights. These grouse form leks, mating arenas where males meet to compete for territory and attract females. This leads to continual fighting as they strive to outdo each other.

Learn more about Sharp-tailed Grouse on All About Birds:

Explore the Macaulay Library Archive for more video and audio recordings of this species and thousands of others:

  Sharptail Grouse Dancing

Uploaded on Mar 26, 2007

Maiting dance of the sharptail grouse just outside of Spooner, Wisconsin

  Dancing Sharp-Tailed Grouse

Uploaded on Apr 22, 2008

How do male sharp-tailed grouse attract their mates? Watch this footage by Blane Klemek.

  Plains Dancer: Alberta's Sharp-tailed Grouse

Published on May 8, 2013

The sharp-tailed grouse is a native game bird that makes its home in the prairies, parklands and forest openings of Alberta. For much of the year the sharp-tailed grouse is a quiet, well-camouflaged bird; however, its spring shenanigans are undoubtedly one of the most impressive spectacles in Alberta's natural history calendar.

Sharp-tailed grouse perform spring courtship displays on communal "dancing grounds", called leks. Here males compete for Breeding opportunities by displaying their "dancing" ability to females.

Leks are found in areas with dry open ground, where dancing activity keeps the vegetation well-trampled. Leks are used over several weeks beginning in late March and are often used for years, even decades. They are an important part of sharp-tailed grouse life, and the loss of suitable lek habitat can be a limiting factor for sharp-tailed grouse in Alberta.

Don't Cut In On a Dance
Leks are an integral part of the lifecycle of prairie grouse. Active leks should never be approached, as any disturbance to the birds may disrupt Breeding activities and result in the abandonment of the lek. The locations of active and historical leks are of great interest to grouse biologists. To report a lek, contact Alberta Conservation Association (ACA).

Help Conserve Alberta's Wild Side!
Biologists monitor and survey sharp-tailed grouse to better understand their behaviour, population, distribution and relative abundance. This information helps determine hunting bag limits, but also helps to recover the species in areas where it has declined. You can contribute to this science by working cooperatively with biologists and organizations such as ACA. Together we can make a difference and conserve Alberta's wild side!

For more about ACA's work with sharp-tailed grouse:

Contact Us!
Our Mission: ACA conserves, protects and enhances fish, wildlife and habitat for all Albertans to enjoy, value and use.
Toll-free number: 1-877-969-9091

Video by Mike Jokinen, ACA. Text adapted from "Alberta's Sharp-tailed Grouse" by Liz Saunders.





Visitor Sightings

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Bill Reynolds

Location: Pennington Co MN

For the past week, this Sharp-tailed Grouse has showed up in the morning for a few hours of foraging under the pines in my yard and then she is gone.

Sharp-tailed Grouse






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