Greater Sage Grouse Facts
- Firstly, the surprisingly majestic seeming Greater Sage Grouse perhaps owns justification for the name. That’s because this remarkable bird represents the largest species of grouse native to North America.
- Sadly, however, its population also seems to be in decline. Yet despite this fact, the creature does not list as Threatened by the IUCN. Currently, it lists as Near Threatened with the organization.
- Further, the primary threat to its existence appears to be habitat loss. But, only a century ago the population of this animal was estimated at about 16 million. Now, however, that estimate is down to as little as 200,000 individuals.
- Finally, the main culprit in this is residential construction as well as the construction of dams. As a result, much of its endemic habitat has been altered or destroyed.
Greater Sage Grouse Physical Description
The Greater Sage Grouse exhibits sexual dimorphism. That can rather easily be seen. Because of this, males grow to roughly twice the size of females and average about 6 lb (2.7 kg). Yet females are only about 3 lb (1.4 kg) in weight.
In addition, the colors develop distinctly different. Males typically appear grayish on the upper body with white breast and a dark throat. There are also two yellow sacs on the neck which can be inflated.
The female, however, appears much less colorful. She is typically a mottled gray-brown in color, and the throat and stomach are varying shades of brown.
Yet both genders do share some traits. Thus, the tails grow quite long and pointed. And in addition, the legs appear covered in feathers all the way to the toes.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Aves
- Order: Galliformes
- Family: Phasianidae
- Genus: Centrocercus
- Species: C. urophasianus
Greater Sage Grouse Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Most noteworthy remains the fact that the Greater Sage Grouse inhabits a wide territory range. This extends from the western United States to southern Canada. Its habitat, however, is solely the sagebrush ecosystem which is indeed specific and restrictive.
However, there remains a reason for this. Its because the preferred diet consists almost solely of sagebrush. Individuals will also feed on other plants, but only once the local supply of sagebrush is exhausted.
This species also typically make their nests within the same region of sagebrush they feed on. The species is also famous for its elaborate courtship rituals.
Finally, a clutch typically consists of 6-8 eggs.