The greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) is the largest grouse in North America. It lives in the western half of the United States and the Alberta and Saskatchewan provinces. They are larger than a pheasant but smaller than a wild turkey.
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|Sage grouse range|
At one time they numbered in the millions. Because of loss of the loss of sagebrush habitat there are now between 200,000 to 500,000 birds in the western US. They are now being considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In Canada It is estimated their habitat range has been reduced by 90%. They are completely gone from British Columbia. It is estimated the population in Canada was reduced by 88% between 1988 and 2006.
In the spring, during their breeding season, male sage-grouse gather to do their courtship displays. They do this on areas called "leks". As the males dance they make a popping sound. This is done by inflating and deflating their two yellow throat sacs. They display their pointed tail feathers while they strut. As many as a dozen males may dance at the same time. Sometimes two males will fight with their wings. The hens will watch for several days before picking out a mate. They make their nests in the sagebrush. The males do not help with nesting or with raising chicks.
- BirdLife International (2012). "Centrocercus urophasianus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.3. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 24 September 2015. Cite has empty unknown parameter:
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- BirdLife International and NatureServe (2014) Bird Species Distribution Maps of the World. 2012. Centrocercus urophasianus. In: IUCN 2014. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. http://www.iucnredlist.org Archived 2014-06-27 at the Wayback Machine. Downloaded on 15 March 2015.
- "Sage Grouse Centrocercus urophasianus". Birdlife International. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
- "Beginner's Guide to Greater Sage-Grouse" (PDF). United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
- "Sage-Grouse and Sagebrush Conservation". U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. Archived from the original on 5 September 2015. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
- "Greater Sage-Grouse urophasianus subspecies". Species at Risk Public Registry, Government of Canada. Archived from the original on 24 August 2017. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
- "Dawn on the Spring Prairie". Sage Grouse Initiative. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
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