Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) is the largest of all grouse species in North America. Adult males can reach weights exceeding 7 pounds and wing spans of 2½ feet. Females (hens) are about half that size. Sage-grouse are relatively long-lived and can often live 5 or more years after reaching adulthood. Sage-grouse are dependent on sagebrush communities for food and cover. They are referred to as a landscape species and migrate to different areas throughout the year. Sage-grouse typically need large, intact sagebrush landscapes to maintain sustainable populations. Spring is the mating season for sage-grouse as birds gather in an open area called a lek. Most leks are traditional sites used year after year. Early in the morning, several males try to attract females by performing an elaborate strutting display and by making “popping/bubbling” sounds with their inflatable air sacs. Hens will then choose which male they prefer. After breeding, hens build a nest usually within a few miles of a lek. A typical nest would contain six to eight eggs. After the chicks are hatched, they are dependent on insects and forbs to provide a nutritious diet. When the chicks are a few weeks old, the hen will move them to better habitat for late summer. As winter approaches, sage-grouse move to areas where sagebrush grows above the snow line to provide shelter and food.
- Sage-grouse Initiative
- A Beginner’s Guide to Sage-grouse from USFWS
- Sage-grouse Habitat in Idaho. A Practical Guide for Land Owners and Managers
- Sage-grouse Habitat in Utah. A Guide for Landowners and Managers