Version 2.07.2017. Adult hens lead their growing chicks to areas with good forage, including irrigated pastures, wet meadows, and alfalfa fields, in addition to sagebrush.Back to top, Sage-grouse eat leaves, buds, flowers, forbs, and insects. The outward popping of these bare pouches creates a series of echoing pops. Location Currently, greater sage-grouse are found in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Eastern California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, Wyoming, and the Canadian Provinces of Alberta and Leks are located in clear areas such as broad ridgetops, grassy swales, dry lakebeds, and sometimes recently burned areas. Lifespan: 1 to 1-1/2 years; However, they have been found to survive up to 10 years in the wild. Most of their movement is on foot, typically averaging less than a mile per day. Family: Phasianidae. Standing tall, with inflated chest held high, the male sweeps his wings across his white breast, creating a swishing noise. Nests tend to have at least two directions that are not heavily vegetated, which presumably function as possible escape routes for incubating females. The greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), also known as the sagehen, is the largest grouse (a type of bird) in North America. When the bird inhales enough air to fill the sacs, his chest almost resembles a pair of sunny-side-up eggs. USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD, USA. Females make bowl-shaped nests scraped into the soft soil and lined with leaves, grasses and forbs, small twigs, and feathers that the female plucks from her breast. Conservation Search, discover, and learn about wildlife. Leaves (primarily of sagebrush) dominate the diet throughout most of the year. Back to top. Sibley, D. A. After hatching, greater sage-grouse chicks eat mostly insects, which provide protein for the growing birds. Females visit these leks to size up the displays and choose their mates. Opening up these plans could undermine the framework and make species recovery efforts more difficult. 2017. Greater Sage-Grouse are strong, fast fliers (up to 50 mph in level flight), but endurance is not a strong suit. In 2010 the U.S. Range/Habitat Greater sage-grouse are a widely distributed but sparsely populated species that occur in Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado, with remnant populations in Washington, California, North Dakota, South Dakota, Alberta and Saskatchewan. Even small amounts of disturbance (such as patches of cultivated land, telephone poles and utility lines, or minor roads) reduce sage-grouse populations. When a female chooses a male she crouches, spreading and drooping her wings slightly in an invitation to the male. In the winter, most of the sage grouse's diet is made up of the leaves and shoots of the sagebrush. Dandelions and other forbs are important for females as they prepare for laying. The Mono Basin population of sage grouse may also be distinct. The cup interior is about 8 inches across and 2–4 inches deep. In 4 seconds, you will be redirected to nwfactionfund.org, the site of the National Wildlife Action Fund, a 501(c)(4) organization. Chicks usually begin to fly when they’re between two and three weeks old. However, in the first three weeks after hatching, chicks cannot digest sagebrush, and forbs and various insects (beetles, grasshoppers, and ants, especially) make up the bulk of the juvenile diet. Forbs make up the majority of the bird’s diet in the summer and early fall. The coos are followed by two popping sounds with a whistle in between. This collaborative conservation framework led the U.S. Endangered Species Act due to higher conservation priorities, but identified the bird as a candidate for future listing. Many females end up mating with the same male; most of the other males on the lek wind up with no mating opportunities at all. Greater Sage-Grouse have declined greatly from presettlement estimates as high as 16 million to as few as 200,000 today—reflecting the widespread loss, alteration, or fragmentation of the vast sagebrush steppe that they depend on. The greater sage-grouse is a signature species of the sagebrush steppe, where they depend on sagebrush plants for food, cover, and roosting. It was not recognized until 2000 as a different species to the greater sage-grouse. Fun Facts for Kids During the winter, the birds prepare for the approaching breeding season, gaining weight and strength by eating sagebrush leaves and getting required moisture from the snow. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Females are smaller and less colorful than males. Sage grouse are symbols of the unique and diverse habitat of the American West. The bird’s range across the American West includes California, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The average life span of sage-grouse is 1 to 1-1/2 years. Fragmentation of sagebrush habitat has reached a point where less than 5 percent of sagebrush habitat lies more than 1.5 miles from a paved road, and this is a major obstacle in striking a balance between the realities of development and the needs of sage-grouse. Get Instant ID help for 650+ North American birds. Fun Facts for Kids During the winter, the birds prepare for the approaching breeding season, gaining weight and strength by eating sagebrush leaves and getting required moisture from the snow. They inflate bulbous yellow air sacs and thrust with their heads to produce weird pops and whistles. Here the males, well-known for their spiky tail feathers and white puffed-up chests with yellow sacs, put on a flashy dance to draw the attention of nearby females. Fish & Wildlife Service to decide not to list the species. Males are intensely territorial on leks, defending areas just a few yards across. During mating season, male sage grouses gather on a lek or a special display area. cover and food. Male greater sage-grouse assemble at communal display grounds—called leks—to strut their stuff in the hopes of wooing a female. The North American Breeding Bird Survey, Results and Analysis 1966–2015. Is a large, ground-dwelling bird, up to 30 inches long and 2 feet tall, weighing from 2 to 7 pounds. These standoffs may boil over into battering attacks with the wings; they may drive away or exhaust they opponent, but rarely cause serious injury. Common Name: Sage grouse. It is a large bird that has a … Research suggests that a population of sage-grouse tied to a single lek might depend on more than 75,000 acres of unbroken sage, while a dispersed population with multiple nearby leks may use 250,000 acres. Variable shades of olive-buff or pale greenish, with fine, darker markings. 2016 State of North America's Birds' Watch List. They place their nests on the ground, usually under a sagebrush shrub and sometimes under tufts of grass within dense patches of shrubs. As a finale, the male raises his head and lets out a huffing sound. Greater Sage-Grouse offer one of the best examples of the breeding system known as lekking—where males gather in a confined area to perform courtship displays for females.

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