A review of the genera of grouse (Aves, Tetraoninae). American Museum novitates ; no. 2289

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New York, N.Y. : American Museum of Natural History
"Egg color and size, and the natal plumages of grouse were studied. The various genera and species of grouse were grouped according to these characters, and the groupings are similar for both characters. An examination of the tails of North American grouse clearly indicates that the number of rectrices is too variable to be taxonomically useful at the generic level. One species (Dendragapus obscurus) exhibits almost the entire range of variation in rectrix number for all grouse (16-22 rectrices, versus 14-22 for all grouse). In addition to these features, attention was also devoted to the juvenile plumage and definitive adult plumages. An appraisal of the existing genera of grouse was based on these studies, and also on evaluation of other 'generic' characters, and consideration of biological phenomena such as interbreeding, predation selection on woodland versus grassland grouse, and various sympatric interactions. As a result, these five genera do not merit recognition: Lyrurus (merged in Tetrao), Canachites and Falcipennis (merged in Dendragapus), Pediocetes (merged in Tympanuchus), and Tetrastes (merged in Bonasa). The major groups of grouse are the stem Dendragapus group, including its offshoot the Lagopus-Tetrao subgorup, the prairie grouse group (Tympanuchus), the Bonasa group, and the Centrocercus group. The last three groups appear to have been independently derived from ancestral Dendragapus stock. There are recognized 16 species of grouse in six genera, characteristics of which are defined. Paleontological and zoogeographic evidence indicates a North American origin for grouse. This group comprises at most a subfamily of the Phasianidae, which evolved along with turkeys (Meleagrinae) and new World quail (Odontophorinae) from early North American phasianid stock. A diagnosis of the Tetraoninae is presented"--P. 33-34.
39 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 35-39).