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Often the most sought after species for guests of Sage Safaris, the Sharp-tailed Grouse, Tympanuchus phasianellus jamesi, is a medium-sized prairie grouse. It is also known as the sharptail and Plains Sharp-tailed Grouse making its home in the northern Great Plains in southern Alberta and Saskatchewan, eastern Montana, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, and northeastern Wyoming. This race lives in the mixed-grass prairie preferring a mosaic of native grasslands, cropland, and brushy/woody riparian draws, creeks, and rivers for a winter food source above the snow cover as buds and berries. Adults have a relatively short tail with the two central (deck) feathers being square-tipped and somewhat longer than their lighter, outer tail feathers giving the bird its distinctive name. The plumage is mottled dark and light browns against a white background, they are lighter on the under parts with a white belly uniformly covered in faint "V"-shaped markings. These markings distinguish sharp-tailed grouse from from lesser and greater prairie chickens which are heavily barred on their under parts (Connelly et al. 1998). Adult males have a yellow comb over their eyes and a violet display patch on their neck. This display patch is another distinguishing characteristic from prairie chickens as male prairie chickens have yellow or orange colored air sacs(Connelly et al. 1998). The female is smaller than the male and can be distinguished by the regular horizontal markings across the deck feathers as opposed to the irregular markings on the males deck feathers which run parallel to the feather shaft. Females also tend to have less obvious combs. Males weigh an average of 33.5 oz (951 g) and females average 29 oz (815 g).


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