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Sharp-tailed Grouse
Photo: Sharp-tailed Grouse, Tympanuchus phasianellus.
Sharp-tailed Grouse, Tympanuchus phasianellus
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Where are they found? North America

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The Sharp-tailed Grouse is Saskatchewan’s official provincial bird. Medium-sized as grouse go, the Sharp-tailed Grouse measures approximately 38 to 45 cm (15 to 18 in.) in length.

Males and females look very similar. They are mottled grey and brown, and their under-parts are spotted with V-shaped markings. Both sexes have a short, pointed tail, but the tail-feathers are longer on the male. The outer feathers on the tail are white.

Males have has yellow "combs" above the eyes and pink air sacs on the neck. They inflate the combs and sacs when displaying to attract a female during the spring mating season. The female selects the male that she will breed with, but she will nest alone.

Nesting generally takes place in May and June. Nests are made on the ground, usually under shrubs or grass. Nests are shallow depressions lined by feathers, ferns or grass. Females lay, on average, 10 to 12 eggs. They brood them (sit on them to keep them warm) for 21 to 23 days. The eggs are brown or buff, and may be covered with fine, dark spots. The young leave the nest almost immediately after they have hatched. Mothers will continue to tend to their young by leading them to feeding areas, where the young feed themselves.

The Sharp-tailed Grouse lives mainly in prairies, grasslands, agricultural areas and open woodlands. During the summer, it tends to live in open, grassy areas. When the temperature begins to drop, it moves into more-sheltered wooded areas.

The Sharp-tailed Grouse is mostly herbivorous. In spring, summer and autumn it will eat forbs, grasses and insects. In winter it is more inclined to eat buds and catkins of deciduous trees and shrubs, as well as berries.

The Sharp-tailed Grouse is a resident of North America. It can be found from Alaska and Yukon Territory east to Quebec and south through the northern United States.


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Photo: Sharp-tailed Grouse, Tympanuchus phasianellus. Photo: Sharp-tailed Grouse, Tympanuchus phasianellus. Photo: Sharp-tailed Grouse, Tympanuchus phasianellus. Photo: Sharp-tailed Grouse, Tympanuchus phasianellus.


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