Greater sage-grouse facts for kids
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 belong to the Phasianidae family. the Gunnison sage-grouse (Centrocercus minimus) is the other species in the genus. They are larger than a pheasant but smaller than a wild turkey.
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.
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Greater sage-grouse Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.