Sharp-tailed Grouse

photo by NEBRASKAland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Tympanuchus phasianellus
L 17″(43 cm).

Song or calls:
Displaying male, low cooing call accompanied by rattling of wing quills.

Description: Mottled brown. Slightly lighter underneath with v-shaped markings. Central tail feathers are elongated, and outer tail feathers are white. Tail of male is longer than female’s. Purple air sacs are visible on a displaying male.

sharp tailed grouse
Habitat: Open grasslands, preferably with few or no trees.

Where in Nebraska: Locally common permanent resident and breeder, primarily north of the Platte River in the western part of the state.

Status: Range was once more widespread, probably occuring over the entire state.

Fun Facts: Sharp-tailed Grouse males dance on leks to attract females and females may visit a more than one lek and up to ten times and then go off elsewhere to lay her eggs.

female Sharp-tailed Grouse - NEBRASKAland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Sharp-tailed Grouse - photo by Phil Swanson.
(click image for larger view)