Botanical composition of bison diets on tallgrass prairie in Oklahoma
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Bryan R. Coppedge; David M. Leslie Jr.; James H. Shaw
Publication Year: 1998

Cataloging Information

  • bison
  • Bison bison
  • bluestem
  • fire
  • forb
  • grasses
  • grassland
  • grazing
  • Great Plains
  • Oklahoma
  • patch burn grazing
  • sedges
  • tallgrass prairie
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: November 12, 2015
FRAMES Record Number: 17941


Diets of bison (Bison bison L.) were examined using microhistological fecal analysis in a 2-yr study on a tallgrass prairie site in northcentral Oklahoma. Graminoids comprised at least 98% of the diet across all seasons. Bison showed strong feeding selectivity; grasses and sedges formed a significantly higher proportion of diets than was generally available in herbage on the landscape. Bison avoided forbs, which were less than or equal to 2% of the diet. Sedges were a large (17-44%) diet component in winter and spring but decreased substantially during summer and fall (11-16%). These changes in sedge use corresponded to seasonal variation in sedge availability. Our results confirm that bison are primarily grazers in prairie habitats, potentially having a significant role in shaping structure and function of tallgrass prairie.

Online Link(s):
Coppedge, Bryan R.; Leslie, David M.; Shaw, James H. 1998. Botanical composition of bison diets on tallgrass prairie in Oklahoma. Journal of Range Management 51(4):379-382.