During winter often relies on riparian areas and other sites that support deciduous trees and shrub; also utilizes non-native cultivated grains and hedgerow species. In the boreal forests of B.C., inhabits open swamps and muskegs (Campbell et al. 1990). Habitat and distribution is constrained in regions where fire suppression has reduced early and mid-successional vegetation communities. Leks may be located on mowed wet meadows, cattle-trampled areas, low ridges and knolls, recent burns, forest clearcuts, shorelines, natural openings, and other areas with low sparse vegetation allowing good visibility and unrestricted movement, especially areas near dense herbaceous vegetation (Prose 1987, Deeble 1996). High-quality nesting habitat provided by structural diversity, including stand of grasses, shrubs, and forbs (Meints et al. 1992).
Campbell, R. W., N. K. Dawe, I. McTaggart-Cowan, J. M. Cooper, G. W. Kaiser, and M. C. E. McNall. 1990. The Birds of British Columbia. Vol. 1 and 2, Nonpasserines. UBC Press, Vancouver, B.C.
Deeble, B.D. 1996. Conservation of Columbian sharp-tailed grouse, with special emphasis on the upper Blackfoot Valley, Montana. M.S. thesis, University of Montana, Missoula, MT. 70 pp.
Meints, D. R., J. W. Connelly, K. P. Reese, A. R. Sands, T. P. Hemker. 1992. Habitat suitability index procedure for Columbian sharp-tailed grouse. Station Bulletin 55. Idaho Forest, Wildlife and Range Experiment Station, University of Idaho. Moscow, Idaho. 27 pp.
Prose, B. L. 1987. Habitat suitability index models: plains sharp-tailed grouse. U. S. Fish Wildl. Serv. Biol. Rep. 82(10.142). 31 pp.