Index of Species Information

WILDLIFE SPECIES:  Tympanuchus phasianellus


WILDLIFE SPECIES: Tympanuchus phasianellus
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Tesky, Julie L. 1994. Tympanuchus phasianellus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].
ABBREVIATION : TYPH COMMON NAMES : sharp-tailed grouse sharptail TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name for sharp-tailed grouse is Tympanuchus phasianellus (Linnaeus). It is in the family Phasianidae. The six recognized subspecies are listed below [1]: T. phasianellus phasianellus northern sharp-tailed grouse T. phasianellus kennicotti (Suckley) northwestern sharp-taile grouse T. phasianellus caurus (Friedmann) Alaskan sharp-tailed grouse T. phasianellus columbianus (Ord) Columbian sharp-tailed grouse T. phasianellus campestris (Ridgeway) prairie sharp-tailed grouse T. phasianellus jamesi (Lincoln) plains sharp-tailed grouse Sharp-tailed grouse hybridize with greater prairie chickens (T. cupido) and dusky grouse (Dendragapus obscurus) [43,51]. ORDER : Galliformes CLASS : Bird FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : The Columbian sharp-tailed grouse has been delisted [52]. OTHER STATUS : Information on state- and province-level protection status of animals in the United States and Canada is available at NatureServe, although recent changes in status may not be included.


WILDLIFE SPECIES: Tympanuchus phasianellus
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Sharp-tailed grouse are found from north-central Alaska, the Yukon Territory, the Northwest Territories, northern Manitoba, northern Ontario, and central Quebec south to eastern Washington, northeast Utah, and Colorado. It occurs in the Great Plains from eastern Colorado to northern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, and northern Michigan [1,8,24]. Ranges of the six subspecies are as follows: Northern sharp-tailed grouse - breeds in northern Manitoba, northern Ontario and central Quebec [24]. Northwestern sharp-tailed grouse - resident in the Northwest Territories from the Mackenzie River to Great Slave Lake [24]. Alaskan sharp-tailed grouse - resident in north-central Alaska east to the southern Yukon territory, northern British Columbia, and northern Alberta [24]. Columbian sharp-tailed grouse - resident from northern British Columbia south to eastern Washington, western Montana, northern Utah, and western Colorado [49]. Columbian sharp-tailed grouse range formerly extended to California, Nevada, and New Mexico [23,33]. Prairie sharp-tailed grouse - resident from southeastern Manitoba, southwestern Ontario, and the upper Peninsula of Michigan to northern Minnesota and northern Wisconsin. Its range formerly extended to northern Illinois [24]. Plains sharp-tailed grouse - resident from north-central Alberta and central Saskatchewan south to Montana (except the extreme west), northeastern Wyoming, northeastern Colorado, portions of Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota. Its range formerly extended to Kansas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico [24]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES10 White-red-jack pine FRES11 Spruce-fir FRES14 Oak-pine FRES15 Oak-hickory FRES17 Elm-ash-cottonwood FRES18 Maple-beech-birch FRES19 Aspen-birch FRES21 Ponderosa pine FRES23 Fir-spruce FRES26 Lodgepole pine FRES28 Western hardwoods FRES29 Sagebrush FRES36 Mountain grasslands FRES38 Plains grasslands FRES39 Prairie FRES40 Desert grasslands STATES :
BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : 5 Columbia Plateau 6 Upper Basin and Range 8 Northern Rocky Mountains 9 Middle Rocky Mountains 10 Wyoming Basin 11 Southern Rocky Mountains 12 Colorado Plateau 13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont 14 Great Plains 16 Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K012 Douglas-fir forest K015 Western spruce - fir forest K016 Eastern ponderosa forest K038 Great Basin sagebrush K046 Desert: vegetation largely lacking K050 Fescue - wheatgrass K051 Wheatgrass - bluegrass K055 Sagebrush steppe K056 Wheatgrass - needlegrass shrubsteppe K057 Galleta - three-awn shrubsteppe K063 Foothills prairie K064 Grama - needlegrass - wheatgrass K065 Grama - buffalograss K066 Wheatgrass - needlegrass K067 Wheatgrass - bluestem - needlegrass K068 Wheatgrass - grama - buffalograss K069 Bluestem - grama prairie K070 Sandsage - bluestem prairie K074 Bluestem prairie K075 Nebraska Sandhills prairie K081 Oak savanna K082 Mosaic of K074 and K100 K093 Great Lakes spruce - fir forest K094 Conifer bog K095 Great Lakes pine forest K098 Northern floodplain forest K099 Maple - basswood forest K100 Oak - hickory forest K106 Northern hardwoods K107 Northern hardwoods - fir forest SAF COVER TYPES : 1 Jack pine 5 Balsam fir 12 Black spruce 13 Black spruce - tamarack 15 Red pine 16 Aspen 17 Pin cherry 18 Paper birch 19 Gray birch - red maple 21 Eastern white pine 23 Eastern hemlock 24 Hemlock - yellow birch 25 Sugar maple - beech - yellow birch 26 Sugar maple - basswood 42 Bur oak 52 White oak - black oak - northern red oak 53 White oak 55 Northern red oak 63 Cottonwood 107 White spruce 210 Interior Douglas-fir 217 Aspen 218 Lodgepole pine 236 Bur oak 237 Interior ponderosa pine SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY PLANT COMMUNITIES : The six subspecies of sharp-tailed grouse occupy a variety of habitats including brushy openings in boreal forests, seral stages in mixed conifer and broadleaf forests, shortgrass prairies, sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) steppes, and oak (Quercus spp.) savannahs [24,33,37]. Columbian sharp-tailed grouse are typically found in sagebrush semideserts [37]. Of the nine cover types near Mann Creek in western Idaho, Columbian sharp-tailed grouse used big sagebrush (A. tridentata) types more than or in proportion to availability, low sagebrush (A. arbuscula) in proportion to availability, and avoided shrubby eriogonum (Eriogonum spp.) cover types. Columbian sharp-tailed grouse selected areas with greater density and coverage of arrowleaf balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata) and bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata) in big sagebrush sites [33]. Columbian sharp-tailed grouse broods in Wyoming were found most often (73%) in mountain shrub and sagebrush-common snowberry (Symphorocarpus albus) habitats [27]. Prairie sharp-tailed grouse are often found in oak savannahs and early successional stages of eastern mixed deciduous-coniferous forests [37]. In northwestern Wisconsin, vegetation types heavily used by prairie sharp-tailed grouse depending on season included grass-shrub, shrub-grass, shrub, open conifer woods, sedge (Carex spp.) meadows, shrub marshes, and croplands [16]. Plains sharp-tailed grouse occur in subclimax brushy grassland habitat including wheatgrass-needlegrass (Stipa spp.), grama (Bouteloua)-needlegrass-wheatgrass, sand sagebrush (A. filifolia)-bluestem (Andropogon spp.), and Nebraska sandhills prairie [24]. Optimum habitat in the mixed-grass prairie of Montana is a mosaic of upland grassland with fragrant sumac (Rhus aromatica) and riparian hardwood draws. An interspersion of plant communities, particularly grassland and grassland-shrub mixtures with extensive ecotones, provided optimum habitat for plains sharp-tailed grouse in the central Alberta quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) parklands. Good plains sharp-tailed grouse habitat in South Dakota consisted of lightly grazed mixed-grass prairie occasionally broken by brushy draws [37]. Wintering plains sharp-tailed grouse in Alberta were found in quaking aspen parklands. During winter in North Dakota, plains sharp-tailed grouse were found in stands of bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa), chokecherry (Prunus virginiana), quaking aspen, cottonwood (Populus spp.), green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica), and willow (Salix spp.) [37]. Northern, Northwestern and Alaskan sharp-tailed grouse inhabit brushy stages of northern boreal forests [37].


WILDLIFE SPECIES: Tympanuchus phasianellus
TIMING OF MAJOR LIFE HISTORY EVENTS : Courtship and breeding - Sharp-tailed grouse are a true lek species: The males defend small territories on traditional "dancing grounds" where they compete for mating opportunities. Typically only a few males mate. The height of male displaying occurs in the spring [33]. The female begins to make a nest at about the same time she begins to visit the dancing grounds or possibly even before. After successfully mating she leaves the dancing grounds and probably does not return. Males also display at dancing grounds during autumn. The autumn display is thought to recruit first-year males into the lekking group and to maintain or improve territorial position among established males [24]. Age at sexual maturity - Young male sharp-tailed grouse probably begin establishing peripheral territories their first fall of life, and these are held again the following spring [24]. Females probably breed for the first time as yearlings [15]. Clutch size and incubation - Sharp-tailed grouse generally lay 12 eggs. Eggs are laid at a rate of one per day and incubation begins when the last egg has been laid. The incubation period is 23 to 24 days. The precocial young all hatch on the same day [24,33]. Renesting attempts sometimes occur but probably contribute no more than 10 percent of the offspring in an average season [24]. Fledging - After the young hatch they are led away from the nest. Chicks are able to fly to a limited degree when they are 10 days old, and rapidly become independent. By the time they are 6 to 8 weeks old they are fully independent, and broods gradually break up and disperse [24]. Fall and winter flocks - Sharp-tailed grouse sometimes form fall and winter flocks. In Wisconsin, sharp-tailed grouse formed flocks when they could not borrow through snow because snow depth was less than 7 inches (18 cm). They left flocks when snow was greater than 7 inches (18 cm) deep and burrowing was possible. Flock sizes decreased when availability of ground food decreased [15]. PREFERRED HABITAT : Courtship habitat - A common characteristic of sharp-tailed grouse leks is low, sparse vegetation allowing good visibility and unrestricted movement [37]. Height and density of vegetation appear to be important factors in selection of leks [17]. Sharp-tailed grouse leks have been reported on mowed wet meadows, cattle-trampled areas around windmills, low ridges and knolls, and recent burns [37]. An excess of woody cover can adversely affect leks [17,37]. In Minnesota, sharp-tailed grouse leks occurred where there was a 0.12 mile (0.19 km) diameter area relatively free of woody vegetation [17]. In a Michigan study, woody cover rarely exceeded 30 percent of the area of the lek [17]. In Alberta, density of displaying male sharp-tailed grouse was inversely related to total coverage of quaking aspen within 0.5 mile (0.8 km) of leks. Sharp-tailed grouse leks in quaking aspen parkland of Manitoba were abandoned when the area dominated by grasses fell below 58 percent [37]. In Michigan the average distance from the center of a lek to dense brush was 690 feet (210 m); the average distance from the center of the lek to the nearest tree was 900 feet (274 m) [17]. Leks are often located relatively close to dense herbaceous cover from the previous year's growth ("residual" cover) [37]. Females frequent heavier cover than do males during the breeding season, so heavy cover may be used by males to locate leks in heterogeneous habitats. The distribution of leks used by sparse populations in east-central North Dakota was influenced by the proximity of dense residual herbaceous vegetation. Eleven of 14 sharp-tailed grouse leks were within 590 feet (180 m) of grassland or cropland areas which had not been mowed or grazed for several years and supported heavy stands of residual growth each spring. New leks were established in Montana following substantial increases in residual cover, and the largest leks were located in areas surrounded by dense stands of residual vegetation [37]. Nesting habitat - Sharp-tailed grouse nest on the ground, preferably among tall, rank grasses, but may also nest in brushy or woody areas [8]. Residual herbaceous vegetation is important nesting cover because little current growth is available in early spring when most nests are constructed [37]. Female sharp-tailed grouse usually do not travel far from leks to nest if suitable cover is available. The mean distance from known leks to 78 nests in western North Dakota was 0.8 mile (1.3 km), with a maximum of 2 miles (3.2 km). The mean distance between nests and leks in Saskatchewan was about 0.5 mile (0.9 km); all nests were within 1 mile (1.6 km) of leks [37]. In the Nebraska sandhills, plains sharp-tailed grouse preferred to nest on northern slopes dominated by residual cover of warm-season grasses [43]. Of 78 plains sharp-tailed grouse nests found in North Dakota, 62 were in rolling grassland and 11 were in lowland draws; most were more than 164 feet (50 m) from woody cover. Females selected tall vegetation within a pasture for nest sites; plant height was more important than species [24]. Nesting cover for prairie sharp-tailed grouse tends to be less grassy and more shrubby than that for plains sharp-tailed grouse [37]. In Michigan, most prairie sharp-tailed grouse nests were protected by overhead cover or were within a few feet of such cover. Of 29 nests found, none was more than 10 feet (3.3 m) from brushy or woody cover. Of 10 nests studied, 6 were in open aspen, 3 were in cutover pines, and 1 was in an open marsh. These sites averaged 43 percent shrub cover, from 3 to 6 feet (1-2 m) high, and 4 percent tree cover more than 6 feet (2 m) tall [24]. Brood habitat - Favored brooding sites are those that contain relatively dense herbaceous cover, associated with a mixture of shrubs and forbs [24]. Broods use cultivated lands that are generally avoided before nesting [17]. Openings in forested areas may also be used [19,24]. Woody cover is more important for broods than for nesting hens [34]. In North Dakota, broods frequently used woody cover in draws or on uplands for shelter from rain and midday heat [37]. Generally, dense brush is used during early brood stages [24]. Sharp-tailed grouse broods in the Wisconsin pine barrens used more woody cover than that chosen for nest sites but in general remained in areas that did not exceed 50 percent shading by woody cover [19]. Of 190 broods in the Wisconsin pine barrens, about 80 percent were in open habitats, 14 percent were in edge habitats, and only 5 percent were more than 150 feet (46 m) inside woody habitats [19]. Shrubs are more important in brood habitat than trees, since they provide cover and food for chicks [24]. Roosting habitat - After the mating season males gradually move away from their leks to foraging and daytime roosting sites that usually include brushy cover, aspen or willow thickets, or young conifer stands. In Utah, during the day sharp-tailed grouse roosted in weeds and grass during June and early July and in shrubs and bushes in late July and August. Night roosts located in fairly open upland sites with good ground cover are preferred by sharp-tailed grouse over roosts in marsh and bog vegetation [24]. Roost sites in the Nebraska sandhills were typically dominated by grasses and were often interspersed with woody vegetation [37]. Winter habitat - Winter use of habitats varies with snow depth [44]. As food and cover are reduced in open habitats, sharp-tailed grouse move into woody vegetation [24,37]. Sharp-tailed grouse also dig snow burrows for shelter if snow depth is adequate; death may occur in severe weather if no snow is available for burrowing [24]. Growth form of dominant grasses is important in late winter habitat. In late winter and early spring, when shrub canopies are open and dry snow is unavailable for burrowing, heavy or deep (> 4 inches [10.2 cm]) snow may collapse sod-forming grasses. Bunchgrasses are more resistant to collapsing under heavy snow and can provide cover when snow is up to 12 inches (30.5 cm) deep [37]. Habitat use by plains sharp-tailed grouse in eastern Montana was most diverse during the winter [37,44]. During periods of deep snow on mixed-grass prairie, plains sharp-tailed grouse used hardwood draws more often than upland grasslands and croplands. Grassy upland use was greatest when snow depth was low [44]. As snow exceeded 5.5 inches (14.0 cm), use of hardwood draws and riparian forest increased. During the winter in northern Montana, plains sharp-tailed grouse are commonly found in coulees bordering streams with 10 to 15 percent shrub canopy cover [37]. These habitats were critical for food during deep snow conditions. Wintering plains sharp-tailed grouse in Alberta parklands roosted in the lee of quaking aspen trees and fed on their buds. Columbian sharp-tailed grouse in California and Washington and sharp-tailed grouse of an unspecified subspecies in Manitoba remained in the open where grain foods were available during winter [37]. COVER REQUIREMENTS : Good quality grass and brushy cover are essential for sharp-tailed grouse. The height and density of vegetation is generally more important than species composition in determining sharp-tailed grouse habitat quality [37]. Sharp-tailed grouse prefer areas that contain cover in scattered openings rather than evenly distributed [34]. Standing herbage or residual cover composed chiefly of grasses furnishes protection for sharp-tailed grouse from inclement weather and predators, especially in late winter and early spring [6]. In late summer and early fall they are found mainly in open cover, grassy openings, or low, scattered brush [8]. Scattered shrubs and shrubby breaks are more important during late summer and fall than in midsummer, when grass height is sufficient. Woody vegetative cover generally becomes increasingly important during fall and winter [37]. Prairie sharp-tailed grouse in Michigan are abundant in areas 20 to 50 percent covered by woody vegetation. The following are recommendations for sharp-tailed grouse habitat in that area: Sparse or bare patches in the ground cover should not exceed half of the total area, and the area of open habitat in wooded vegetation should not be less than 1 square mile (2.59 sq km). Ideal summer habitat on a square mile should include an open portion of about 6 percent of the total area to provide a display site, loafing and foraging habitat for adult males and broods, and roosting sites for displaying males. About half of the total area should consist of scattered large shrubs and trees, especially aspens. Heavy ground cover serves for resting, feeding, and dusting, especially by broods [24]. The remaining 44 percent of the cover should consist of an alternating series of small (10 acre [4 ha]) brushy clearings and heavier second-growth stands of mixed hardwoods and conifers, which serve as a source of winter browse and protection from severe weather as well as escape cover. The scattered small clearings provide additional nesting and brood-rearing habitat and winter roosting areas [24]. For the Columbian sharp-tailed grouse, shrubs and small trees are important habitat components only during late fall and winter. During the rest of the year weed-grass cover and cultivated crops such as wheat and alfalfa provide important food and cover [24]. The plains sharp-tailed grouse inhabiting the sandhills of central Nebraska and the sand dune areas of north-central North Dakota are relatively independent of extensive tree cover. A minimum of 5 percent brush cover to total land surface is tolerable to sharp-tailed grouse in North Dakota [24]. FOOD HABITS : Sharp-tailed grouse are primarily herbivorous and utilize a variety of leafy plant material including buds, fruits, and catkins of woody species. During the spring and summer herbaceous plants make up the bulk of the sharp-tailed grouse diet. During the fall and winter sharp-tailed grouse rely more on woody species [24,37]. Sharp-tailed grouse less than 10 weeks old feed primarily on insects such as short-horned and long-horned grasshoppers, beetles, and ants. At 12 weeks of age they consume about 90 percent plant material, which closely resembles the adult diet [37]. During the spring and summer in Washington, green herbaceous materials composed the bulk of the sharp-tailed grouse diet; grass blades alone (especially Sandberg bluegrass [Poa secunda]) totaled 50 percent of the spring diet and 75 percent of the summer diet. Flower parts, particularly those of dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) and buttercup (Ranunculus spp.), made up the rest of the spring and summer food [24]. The summer diet of adult plains sharp-tailed grouse in Nebraska sandhills was 91 percent plant material, 5 percent insects, and 4 percent unknown. Important food items by volume included 54 percent clover (Trifolium spp.), 9 percent rose hips (Rosa spp.), 6 percent Bessey cherry (Prunus besseyi), 4 percent dandelion, and 3 percent eastern poison-ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) [37]. During fall, a diverse array of seeds and cultivated grains are eaten, especially in agricultural areas. In nonagricultural areas shrub fruits and seeds and green leaves of herbs, shrubs, and trees are eaten [24]. October foods of 53 plains sharp-tailed grouse showed a similar emphasis on plant items (89%), including heavy use of fruits. Important plant foods during this period were rose (46%), clovers, (16%), American nightshade (Solanum americanum) (11%), clammy groundcherry (Physalis heterophylla) (7%), dandelion (3%), and western snowberry (Symphoricarpos occidentalis) (2%). Insects comprised 8 percent of the October diet [37]. Fruits and berries were predominant in the fall diet of sharp-tailed grouse in eastern Montana, followed by domestic grains. Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia) was heavily used even though scarce on the study area. Grains were preferred during winter, although fruits and buds were critical when snow became deep (>5.5 inches [>14 cm]). Silver buffaloberry (Shepherdia argentea), fragrant sumac, Russian olive, and creeping juniper (Juniperus horizontalis) composed two-thirds of foods used during winter [37]. Availability of grain, fruiting shrubs, or deciduous trees is important in winter. Paper birch (Betula papyrifera) and quaking aspen are major winter food sources for prairie sharp-tailed grouse when snow cover prevents foraging on grains or similar foods [24]. In central Wisconsin, paper birch buds and catkins are the primary winter foods of prairie sharp-tailed grouse, with aspen of secondary importance. Among shrubs, rose hips and hazel (Corylus spp.) buds and catkins are important. In Ontario paper birch is the primary winter food for prairie sharp-tailed grouse, supplemented by browse of willow, aspen, blueberry (Vaccinium spp.), and mountain-ash (Sorbus spp.). In North Dakota, willow buds are the most important single winter food for plains sharp-tailed grouse, but chokecherry, cottonwood, and rose are major supplementary species. During periods of heavy snow in Utah, sharp-tailed grouse move into thickets of maple (Acer spp.), chokecherry, and serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.), where they feed on buds [24]. The fruits of black hawthorn (Crataegus douglasii) and the buds of Saskatoon serviceberry (A. alnifolia) and chokecherry were the main winter foods of Columbian sharp-tailed grouse in western Idaho [33]. PREDATORS : Some predators of sharp-tailed grouse include red foxes (Vulpes vulpes), coyotes (Canus latrans), and great horned owls (Bubo virginianus) and other raptors [16]. MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : The populations and distributions of the Columbian, prairie, and plains sharp-tailed grouse have all decreased from loss of habitat due to intensive livestock grazing, conversion of range to cropland, and other human activities [24]. Overstocking results in loss of vegetation necessary for nesting and may reduce shrubby cover needed for broods. Woody vegetation frequently deteriorates in areas where livestock are concentrated. In such areas it would be desirable to fence off some woody stands to provide cover for sharp-tailed grouse [33,43]. In western Idaho, mountain shrub and riparian cover types were the most important winter habitats for Columbian sharp-tailed grouse. These cover types are sometimes heavily damaged by livestock. Any disturbance that may damage or eliminate these cover types may have severe negative impacts on Columbian sharp-tailed grouse [33]. In general, grazing should be regulated so that approximately 15 percent of an area remains unused during a season [43].


WILDLIFE SPECIES: Tympanuchus phasianellus
DIRECT FIRE EFFECTS ON ANIMALS : Fire occurring during the nesting season may kill sharp-tailed grouse and destroy their nests and clutches [14]. However, four of five sharp-tailed grouse nests on the Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge, North Dakota, survived a fire and the eggs hatched [30]. HABITAT RELATED FIRE EFFECTS : Fire is an important factor in creating and maintaining sharp-tailed grouse habitat. Fire helps to maintain early successional stages of grasses, sedges, forb, and shrubs, all of which provide cover and food for sharp-tailed grouse [14]. Sharp-tailed grouse need open habitat with good horizontal visibility for lek sites, so fires that reduce tall cover would enhance lek availability and quality [42]. Much of the prairie habitat in which sharp-tailed grouse occur was largely maintained by fire in presettlement times [14]. On native northern mixed prairie grassland in South Dakota, sharp-tailed grouse were absent in an unburned control area, which contained dense grass. They were present on a less dense burned area within a few months following the fire [22]. Following fire in boreal forests of Alaska, stands of aspen and birch develop on well-drained sites and are occupied by Alaskan sharp-tailed grouse [10]. Fire helps to eliminate dense mats of dead grasses, sedges, bushes, sticks, and other debris which can act as a barrier to walking and feeding. When this accumulation of debris is removed by fire, sharp-tailed grouse make better use of the habitat [14]. Frequent fires may help reduce the number of wood ticks and other parasites of sharp-tailed grouse [14]. Although fire is generally beneficial to sharp-tailed grouse, severe fire may eliminate valuable cover essential for nesting, roosting, hiding, and feeding. Severe fires in autumn may eliminate the entire winter food and cover resource, making winter survival in that area nearly impossible [14]. Fire helps to stimulate new food supplies for sharp-tailed grouse. In Wisconsin, plants such as smartweed (Polygonum spp.) and ragweed (Ambrosia spp.) usually increase following fire. Ragweed is one of the best foods for sharp-tailed grouse. Numerous sedges and many grasses eaten by sharp-tailed grouse also grow luxuriantly in fire-created openings. Wild fruit supplies are greater and of better quality in burned areas from 2 to 5 years after a fire because of the pruning effect of fire [14]. Sharp-tailed grouse in central Wisconsin occupy semiopen oak woodlands which have been opened up by fire. Acorns are easier to find in these woodlands. Oakwoods with dense underbrush are generally not used by sharp-tailed grouse. Fires also prune older growth of browse such as hazelnut (Corylus cornuta), chokecherry, willow, and sweet-fern (Myrica asplenifolia) and stimulates the new growth that is preferred by sharp-tailed grouse [14]. FIRE USE : Prescribed fire has been used to maintain and improve sharp-tailed grouse habitat in several areas [9,17,28,41,42]. Repeated prescribed fire in Michigan has helped to improve sharp-tailed grouse habitat and increase populations. Herbage produced following prescribed burning in the pine types of Michigan provided food and cover for sharp-tailed grouse that was not found on unburned areas [23]. In Alaska and the Yukon Territory, prescribed burning has helped convert spruce (Picea spp.) muskeg habitat into more productive sharp-tailed grouse habitat [36]. Mature aspen can be converted to sharp-tailed grouse habitat through repeated spring prescribed burning [4]. Burning should be avoided during the nesting season [14].


WILDLIFE SPECIES: Tympanuchus phasianellus
REFERENCES : 1. American Ornithologists' Union. 1983. Checklist of North American birds. 6th ed. Lawrence, KS: Allen Press, Inc. 877 p. [21234] 2. Ammann, G. A. 1963. Status and management of sharp-tailed grouse in Michigan. Journal of Wildlife Management. 27(4): 802-809. [16846] 3. Berg, William E. 1990. Sharp-tailed grouse management problems in the Great Lakes States: does the sharp-tail have a future? Loon. 62(1): 42-45. [23507] 4. Berg, William E.; Watt, Philip G. 1986. Prescribed burning for wildlife in northwestern Minnesota. In: Koonce, Andrea L., ed. Prescribed burning in the Midwest: state-of-the-art: Proceedings of a symposium; 1986 March 3-6; Stevens Point, WI. Stevens Point, WI: University of Wisconsin, College of Natural Resources, Fire Science Center: 158-162. [16282] 5. Bernard, Stephen R.; Brown, Kenneth F. 1977. Distribution of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians by BLM physiographic regions and A.W. Kuchler's associations for the eleven western states. Tech. Note 301. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 169 p. [434] 6. Brown, Robert L. 1966. Response of sharptail breeding populations to annual changes in residual grassland cover. Proceedings, Annual Conference of Western Association of State Game and Fish Commissioners. 46: 219-222. [16765] 7. Buss, Irven O.; Dziedzic, Eugene S. 1955. Relation of cultivation to the disappearance of the Columbian sharp-tailed grouse from southeastern Washington. The Condor. 57: 185-187. [16798] 8. DeGraaf, Richard M.; Scott, Virgil E.; Hamre, R. H.; [and others]. 1991. Forest and rangeland birds of the United States: Natural history and habitat use. Agric. Handb. 688. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 625 p. [44509] 9. Doll, A. D. 1955. Sharptailed grouse management: progress report. Wisconsin Conservation Bulletin. 20(12): 21-23. [16071] 10. Ellison, Laurence N. 1975. Density of Alaskan spruce grouse before and after fire. Journal of Wildlife Management. 39(3): 468-471. [12995] 11. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905] 12. Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others]. 1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. [998] 13. Grange, Wallace. 1965. Fire and tree growth relationships to snowshoe rabbits. In: Proceedings, 4th Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1965 March 18-19; Tallahassee, FL. Tallahasee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 111-123. [13530] 14. Grange, Wallace B. 1948. The realtion of fire to grouse. In: Wisconsin grouse problems. Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Project No. 5R. Pub. 328. Madison, WI: Wisconsin Conservation Department: 193-205. [15908] 15. Gratson, M. W.. 1988. Spatial patterns, movements, and cover selection by sharp-tailed grouse. In: Bergerud, Arthur T.; Gratson, M. W., eds. Adaptive strategies and population ecology of northern grouse. [Place of pulication unknown]: [Publisher unknown]: 158-192. [23509] 16. Gratson, Michael W.; Toepfer, John E.; Anderson, Raymond K. 1990. Habitat use and selection by male sharp-tailed grouse, Tympanuchus phasianellus campestris. Canadian Field-Naturalist. 104(4): 561-566. [23508] 17. Gregg, Larry. 1987. Recommendations for a program of sharptail habitat preservation in Wisconsin. Research Report 141. Madison, WI: Department of Natural Resources. 24 p. [23506] 18. Hamerstrom, F. N., Jr. 1939. A study of Wisconsin prairie chicken and sharp-tailed grouse. Wilson Bulletin. 51(2): 105-120. [15808] 19. Hamerstrom, F. N., Jr. 1963. Sharptailed brood habitat in Wisconsin's northern pine barrens. Journal of Wildlife Management. 27(4): 793-802. [15809] 20. Hamerstrom, Frederick; Hamerstrom, Frances. 1961. Status and problems of North American grouse. Wilson Bulletin. 73(3): 284-294. [15807] 21. Hoag, Anthony W.; Braun, Clait E. 1990. Status and distribution of plains sharp-tailed grouse in Colorado. Prairie Naturalist. 22(2): 97-102. [23504] 22. Huber, G. E.; Steuter, A. A. 1984. Vegetation profile and grassland bird response to spring burning. Prairie Naturalist. 16(2): 55-61. [3264] 23. Irving, Frank D., Jr. 1950. Some possible effects on wildlife of controlled burning in the pine types of Minnesota. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota. 43 p. Thesis. [15913] 24. Johnsgard, Paul A. 1983. The grouse of the world. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska. 413 p. [18404] 25. Kelleyhouse, David G. 1979. Fire/wildlife relationships in Alaska. In: Hoefs, M.; Russell, D., eds. Wildlife and wildfire: Proceedings of workshop; 1979 November 27-28; Whitehorse, YT. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Wildlife Branch: 1-36. [14071] 26. Kirsch, Leo M.; Kruse, Arnold D. 1973. Prairie fires and wildlife. In: Proceedings, annual Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1972 June 8-9; Lubbock, TX. Number 12. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 289-303. [8472] 27. Klott, James H.; Lindzey, Frederick G. 1990. Brood habitats of sympatric sage grouse and Columbian sharp-tailed grouse in Wyoming. Journal of Wildlife Management. 54(1): 84-88. [23505] 28. Komarek, E. V., Sr. 1963. The use of fire in wildland management. Proceedings of the Arizona Watershed Symposium. 7: 23-30. [15960] 29. Kruse, Arnold D.; Higgins, Kenneth F. 1990. Effects of prescribed fire upon wildlife habitat in northern mixed-grass prairie. In: Alexander, M. E.; Bisgrove, G. F., technical coordinators. The art and science of fire management: Proceedings, 1st Interior West Fire Council annual meeting and workshop; 1988 October 24-27; Kananaskis Village, AB. Inf. Rep. NOR-X-309. Edmonton, AB: Forestry Canada, Northwest Region, Northern Forestry Centre: 182-193. [14146] 30. Kruse, Arnold D.; Piehl, James L. 1986. The impact of prescribed burning on ground-nesting birds. In: Clambey, Gary K.; Pemble, Richard H., eds. The prairie: past, present and future: Proceedings, 9th North American prairie conference; 1984 July 29 - August 1; Moorhead, MN. Fargo, ND: Tri-College University Center for Environmental Studies: 153-156. [3561] 31. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p. [1384] 32. Marks, Jeffrey S.; Marks, Victoria Saab. 1987. Habitat selection by Columbian sharp-tailed grouse in west-central Idaho. Boise, ID: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Boise District. 115 p. [23503] 33. Marks, Jeffrey S.; Marks, Victoria Saab. 1988. Winter habitat use by Columbian sharp-tailed grouse in western Idaho. Journal of Wildlife Management. 52(4): 743-746. [6142] 34. Miller, Howard A. 1963. Use of fire in wildlife management. In: Proceedings, 2d annual Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1963 March 14-15; Tallahassee, FL. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 19-30. [17921] 35. Moseley, Robert; Groves, Craig, compilers. 1990. Rare, threatened and endangered plants and animals of Idaho. Boise, ID: Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program, Natural Heritage Section. 33 p. [19328] 36. Mossop, D. 1979. Seral habitat usage by sharp-tailed grouse in the Yukon Territory--an hypothesis. In: Hoefs, M.; Russell, D., eds. Wildlife and wildfire: Proceedings of workshop; 1979 November 27-28; Whitehorse, YT. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Wildlife Branch: 196-199. [14085] 37. Prose, Bart L. 1987. Habitat suitability index models: plains sharp-tailed grouse. Biological Report 82(10.142). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Ecology Center. 31 p. [23499] 38. Rodgers, Randy D. 1992. A technique for establishing sharp-tailed grouse in unoccupied range. Wildlife Society Bulletin. 20(1): 101-106. [23500] 39. Saab, Victoria Ann; Marks, Jeffrey Shaw. 1992. Summer habitat use by Columbian sharp-tailed grouse in western Idaho. Great Basin Naturalist. 52(2): 166-173. [19689] 40. Schmidt, F. J. W. 1936. Winter food of the sharp-tailed grouse and pinnated grouse in Wisconsin. Wilson Bulletin. September: 186-203. [16729] 41. Scotter, George W. 1972. Fire as an ecological factor in boreal forest ecosystems of Canada. In: Fire in the environment: Symposium proceedings; 1972 May 1-5; Denver, CO. FS-276. [Ogden, UT]: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, [Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station]: 15-25. [13404] 42. Sexton, Donald A.; Gillespie, Murray M. 1979. Effects of fire on the location of a sharp-tailed grouse arena. Canadian Field-Naturalist. 93: 74-76. [2112] 43. Sisson, Leonard. 1976. The sharp-tailed grouse in Nebraska. Lincoln, NE: Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. 88 p. [5748] 44. Swenson, Jon E. 1985. Seasonal habitat use by sharp-tailed grouse, Tympanuchus phasianellus, on mixed-grass prairie in Montana. Canadian Field-Naturalist. 99(1): 40-46. [23501] 45. Tsuji, Leonard J. S. 1992. Snowfall causes lek movement in the sharp-tailed grouse. Wilson Bulletin. 104(1): 188-189. [23502] 46. Wilson, Ronald L. 1987. Prescribed burning in Michigan. Fire Management Notes. 48(4): 12-14. [21167] 47. Yocom, Charles F. 1952. Columbian sharp-tailed grouse in the state of Washington. American Midland Naturalist. 48(1): 185-192. [7344] 48. Finch, Deborah M. 1992. Threatened, endangered, and vulnerable species of terrestrial vertebrates in the Rocky Mountain Region. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-215. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 38 p. [18440] 49. California Department of Fish and Game, Natural Diversity Data Base. 1992. Special animals. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Fish and Game, Natural Diversity Data Base. 28 p. [23402] 50. Tate, James, Jr. 1986. The Blue List for 1986. American Birds. 40(2): 227-235. [24324] 51. National Geographic Society. 1987. Field guide to the birds of North America. 2nd ed. Washington, DC: The National Geographic Society. 464 p. [24327] 52. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2013. Find endangered species. In: Endangered Species Program, [Online]. Available: [86564]

FEIS Home Page