Male and female: big difference in size. Male length = 28 inches, width = 38 inches. Female length = 22 inches, width = 33 inches. Male sage-grouse: chocolate brown belly band, broad wing span, long pointed tail, and large size are diagnostic. Sage-grouse have slower wing beats than other grouse.
Male and female similar. Length = 17 inches, width = 25 inches. Male and female sharp-tailed grouse are similar: pale under belly; short pointed tail. Sharp-tails wobble in flight.
Length = 21 inches, width = 31 inches. Hen pheasant has a long, pointed tail.
Photo: Daniel J. Cox/NaturalExposure.com.
Illustrations by Ron Jenkins. Used with permission from Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.
Female – casual pose, black belly
Male – casual pose, black belly, black throat
Displaying males’ folded wings are drawn across stiffened feathers at the sides of the neck, producing a brushing sound. Olive green inflated skin patches on the breast bulge repeatedly to create a dramatic and unusual sound (plopping) and visual display.
Alert pose – pale belly
With their tails erect, displaying males “rattle their tails” and coo.
Photo: Photo courtesy Drake Burton.