Sharp-tailed Grouse
(Tympanuchus phasianellus)


Picture of bird
© Christian Artuso
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

The Sharp-tailed Grouse is found in grasslands and open woodlands from the Great Lakes west to the Yukon (Connelly et al. 1998). It has disappeared from much of the southern portion of its range in the United States, but is still found throughout most of its historic range in Canada (Connelly et al. 1998). The species is best monitored in Canada by the Breeding Bird Survey, which suggests little overall change in population since about 1970. This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.


Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Secure2015 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaLittle ChangeMediumAt an Acceptable Level

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada50,000 - 500,000 adults

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence


Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population

Conservation and management

Sharp-tailed Grouse are hunted throughout most of their range; harvest rates can have significant effects on spring populations in some years (Connelly et al. 1998). Northern populations use early-successional habitats created by fire and logging (Barrette 1996, Connelly et al. 1998, Leupin 2003). Male Sharp-tailed Grouse display in early spring at sites called “leks”, which are an important component of the species' habitat requirements (Connelly et al. 1998). Disturbance at leks and loss of lek habitat may result in regional population declines (Baydack et Hein 1987, Niemuth 2011).


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type
Boreal Taiga PlainsBoreal Taiga Plains, sub-region and priority type: Prairie and Northern -- Other
Great BasinGreat Basin, sub-region and priority type: Pacific and Yukon -- Conservation
Northern RockiesNorthern Rockies, sub-region and priority type: Pacific and Yukon -- Conservation
Prairie PotholesPrairie Potholes, sub-region and priority type: Prairie and Northern -- Conservation & Stewardship