Sharp-tailed Grouse

: A Fascinating Bird

The Sharp-tailed Grouse is a fascinating bird that inhabits the grasslands and prairies of North America. With its unique appearance, interesting behaviors, and important ecological role, this bird is one worth getting to know.

Basic Description

At first glance, the Sharp-tailed Grouse might look similar to other chicken-like birds such as pheasants or quails. However, it has several distinguishing features that make it stand out. The males have strikingly sharp tail feathers that stick up during courtship displays. They also have bright yellow eyebrows and colorful combs above their eyes. Females are less showy but still have distinctive feather patterns.

Where To Find This Bird

Sharp-tailed Grouse can be found in open grasslands from Alaska all the way down to New Mexico. They are often found in areas with mixed grasses and shrubs rather than tall prairie grasses or crops.


These birds prefer areas with some trees or bushes for shelter but where there is plenty of open ground for foraging and mating displays. They will use leks (special areas where males gather to perform elaborate dances) year after year if they remain undisturbed.


Sharp-tailed Grouse feed primarily on vegetation such as buds, berries, leaves, seeds of various plants including sagebrush or clover depending on the season but occasionally eat insects as well.

Cool Facts

– During breeding season male grouse will come together for “leks” – communal display grounds – compete fiercely over territorial disputes using a series of calls which sound like drumming.
– Males puff themselves up into impressive displays by fanning their tails like peacocks except in reverse.
– Female grouses attract mates by bobbing their heads when interested.
– In winter sharp-tail grouses dive feet-first into snowbanks at night using them as insulation to avoid freezing to death.
– They are classified as a “game bird” and can be hunted in some states where they are economically important.

The Sharp-tailed Grouse is an impressive bird that has adapted well to the unique grassland environment of North America. With its sharp tail feathers, distinctive calls, and fascinating courtship displays, this bird is a true wonder of nature. If you ever have the opportunity to see one in person or even hear their drumming from a distance it’s an experience not soon forgotten.