Sage Grouse

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Sage Grouse
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Sagegrouse21.jpg
Sage Grouse


Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Galliformes
Family:Tetraonidae
Genus:Centrocercus
Binomial name
Centrocercus urophasianus
(Bonaparte, 1827)
Binomial name
Centrocercus minimus
Young et. al., 2000

The Greater Sage Grouse, Centrocercus urophasianus, is a large grouse. Adults have a long, pointed tail and legs with feathers to the toes. Adult males have a yellow patch over the eye, are greyish on top with a white breast, a dark brown throat and a black belly; two yellowish sacs on the neck are inflated during courtship display. Adult females are mottled grey-brown with a light brown throat and dark belly.

The breeding habitat for the Greater Sage Grouse is sagebrush country in the western United States and southern Alberta and Saskatchewan. They nest on the ground under sagebrush or grass patches.

The Gunnison Sage Grouse, Centrocercus minimus, is almost identical in appearance but about a third smaller in size and restricted in range to southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah. The largest population resides in the Gunnison Basin region in Colorado.

Both species are permanent residents. Some move short distances to lower elevations for winter. These birds forage on the ground. They are mainly eat sagebrush, also insects and other plants. They are not able to digest hard seeds like other grouse.

The numbers of both species are declining due to loss of habitat; their ranges have shrunk in historical times, having been extirpated from British Columbia, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Arizona and New Mexico.

The Sagehen is the mascot of the Pomona College and Pitzer College athletic teams (Claremont, CA).

Members of both species are also known as the Sagehen, Sage Chicken or Sage Cock.

Template:Commons

References

  • J. R. Young, C. E. Braun, S. J. Oyler-McCance, J. R. Hupp and T.W. Quinn, "A new species of sage-grouse (Phasianidae : Centrocercus) from southwestern Colorado", Wilson Bulletin. 112(4):445-+, 2000.
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