Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




A study of the reproductive ecology and brood food habits of sharp-tail grouse (Pedioecates phaslanel.lus jamesi Lincoln) was conducted in southwestern North Dakota during 1967 and 1968. A qualitative and quantitative analysis of the nest and brooding cover selected by the female was made to determine the effect of intensive grazing. Radio telemetry was utilized to monitor dispersals of 13 females from three dancing grounds; eight nests were located. Nest sites were selected in areas of moderate grazing with residual vegetation , or in non-use areas associated with intensive grazing' and land-use. Deferred grazing on native range was important in providing nesting habitat. Important species at nest sites included little bluestern (Andropogon scoparius), crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum), needle-and-thread (Stipa comat a) , green needle (S. viridula) , and slender wheatgra-ss (A. trachycaulum). Five hens with broods were serai- continuously radio-tracked for movement and cover selection. Idle (non-use) grassland, mesic swales, and brushy areas were used extensively by broods. Agricultural practices (haying and grazing) also influenced brood location. The examination of 5Q crops and 53 gizzards from 56 immature sharptails indicated that beetles (Coleoptera), short-horned grasshoppers (Locustidae), and goatsbeard (Tragopogon dubius) were important animal and vegetable food items. The percentage of animal foods taken declined between 7 and 11 weeks of age. A correlation between hae availability of animal food and brood habitat selection was not observed.