Greater sage-grouse on lek at early morningAdd to Cart Add to Lightbox Download
Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) gather on a lek during an early morning sunrise in south-central Wyoming.
Greater sage-grouse are a lekking species. They gather at the same lek, year over year, where males put on elaborate mating displays for the attention of females. During courtship strutting displays, the males fan their starburst-like tail feathers behind them. They also make a large popping sound, created when they puff up their chests and inflate and deflate their large yellow throat sacs.
Greater sage-grouse are the largest native grouse in North America, typically 30 inches in length and up to 2 feet tall. Males can weigh 4-5 pounds with hens weighing 2-3 pounds They are omnivores, eating primarily sagebrush, other soft plants and insects. Considered a keystone species for the sagebrush ecosystem, greater sage-grouse cannot live in areas without sagebrush.. The ground-dwelling birds are found in the sagebrush ecosystems of the western United States and southern Alberta and Saskatchewan in Canada.
In 2015, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service determined that protection for the greater sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act was no longer warranted and withdrew the species from the candidate species list.
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- © 2016 John L. Dengler
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America Artemisia Bureau of Land Management Centrocercus urophasianus Department of the Interior North America U.S. US USA United States United States of America Wyoming animal animals aves avian bird birds daybreak fauna flora fowl-like birds gallinacean gallinaceous bird greater sage-grouse grouse high desert horizontal landscape landscapes lek mating behavior nature no people nobody outdoor outdoors outside plant plants sage grouse sage-grouse sagebrush sagebrush steppe scenery scenic shrub skies sky south-central Wyoming sun up sunrise sunrises sunset wildlife