Greater Sage-Grouse

Centrocercus urophasianus

  • Version: 2.0 — Published January 1, 1999
  • Michael A. Schroeder, Jessica R. Young, and Clait E. Braun

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The Introduction Article is just the first of 11 articles in each species account that provide life history information for the species. The remaining articles provide detailed information regarding distribution, migration, habitat, diet, sounds, behavior, breeding, current population status and conservation. Each species account also includes a multimedia section that displays the latest photos, audio selections and videos from Macaulay Library’s extensive galleries. Written and continually updated by acknowledged experts on each species, Birds of North America accounts include a comprehensive bibliography of published research on the species.

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Figure 1. Current and historical distribution of the Sage Grouse.
Adult male Greater Sage-Grouse, courtship display; Mono Co., CA; April

; photographer Marc Dantzker

Adult female Greater Sage-Grouse; Mono Co., CA; April

; photographer Marc Dantzker

The Greater Sage-Grouse is North America's largest grouse, a characteristic feature of habitats dominated by big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) in western North America. The first written accounts of this species were based on observations by the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1805, when the species was widespread in the West; its distribution and population densities have been greatly reduced because of loss of habitat to cultivation, burning, and overgrazing. Most populations face problems that may impact their long-term survival, problems that continue despite a century of conservation concern and management efforts.

The dramatic physiological and behavioral nature of the Greater Sage-Grouse has been an inspiration to a wide cross section of people, including Native Americans, naturalists, behavioral ecologists, photographers, and hunters. This species is renowned for its spectacular breeding displays, during which large numbers of males congregate on relatively small lek sites to perform a Strutting Display and to breed with females. Although research on the breeding behavior of the Greater Sage-Grouse continues (Young et al. 1994a; Gibson Gibson 1996b, Gibson 1996a), the effects of movement, habitat selection, productivity, and survival on the conservation biology of this species are the focus of most current research (Pyle and Crawford 1996, Fischer et al. 1997b, Reese and Connelly 1997, Schroeder 1997, Braun 1998, Sveum et al. 1998a).

Recommended Citation

Schroeder, M. A., J. R. Young, and C. E. Braun (1999). Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (A. F. Poole and F. B. Gill, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.