Sharp Tailed Grouse

Tympanuchus phasianellus caurus (Alaskan), T.p.campestris (Prairie)

Tympanuchus phasianellus caurus (Alaskan), T.p.campestris (Prairie)


Sharp tailed grouse are about 15 inches in length and have a narrow, pointed tail with white outer feathers. Their body feathers are white with brown, tan, and black on the head, neck and back. The males have a violet neck patch and a yellow comb over their eyes but none of the females have the neck patch or comb.

Range & Habitat

The Alaska and prairie sharp tailed grouse can be found in northern British Columbia. They make their homes in grasslands, scrub forest and arid sagebrush. The populations of Alaska and prairie sharp-tailed grouse in the north are increasing because of the clear-cutting of forests that leaves behind a more open grassy space which the grouse choose as their habitat.

Diet & Behaviour

These birds are ground feeders and they eat buds, grains, and flowers and also some in-season insects. One of the characteristic behaviours of this grouse is their extravagant mating dance that is performed on mating grounds known as leks. During courtship they make a low single or double cooing sound to attract a mate.

Lifecycle & Threats

Nine to twelve young is a typical number in a sharp-tailed grouse clutch (a group of eggs laid together). These buff-brown coloured eggs are born into a low nest made of grasses and are incubated for 23 to 24 days.


COSEWIC: Not at Risk
CDC: Yellow

More Information


Photo: birdclickhunter