Great Basin Naturalist


Microhabitat characteristics of blue grouse (Dendragapus obscurus) were analyzed in breeding and wintering habitats in southeastern Idaho. Breeding habitats typically were open sagebrush (Artemisia spp.), mixed shrub, mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius), and maple (Acer grandidentatum) stands on east to south facing aspects of slopes below 2100 m elevation. Breeding blue grouse selected areas with approximately a 50:50 or greater open to cover ratio. Blue grouse selected areas with higher tree coverage than available on average within the mixed shrub vegetation type. Hens with broods preferred sites with relatively tall (>50 cm) herbaceous vegetation. During autumn and winter, blue grouse preferred high elevation (>2285 m) stands of open (50% tree cover) conifer. Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) were preferred as winter roost trees. Sites selected in winter had significantly more Douglas-fir than those selected in autumn.