Gunnison Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus minimus) - Wiki
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[Photo] Gunnison Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus minimus). Photo by Rob Bennetts. Source: USGS (http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/id/framlst/photo_htm/Images/h3092pi.jpg).
The Gunnison Sage-grouse, Centrocercus minimus, is a species of bird enemic to the United States. It is almost identical to the closely related Greater Sage-Grouse in appearance but about a third smaller in size, with much thicker plumes behind the head and a less elaborate courtship dance. It is restricted in range to southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah, with the largest population residing in the Gunnison Basin region in Colorado.
Sage-grouse are notable for their elaborate courtship rituals. Each spring males congregate on leks and perform a "strutting display". Groups of females observe these displays and select the most attractive males to mate with. Only a few males do most of the breeding. Males perform on leks for several hours in the early morning and evening during the spring months. Leks are generally open areas adjacent to dense sagebrush stands, and the same lek may be used by grouse for decades.
The numbers of this species are declining due to loss of habitat; their range has shrunk in historical times. This species has been petitoned for listing under the Endangered Species Act. However, the US Fish & Wildlife Service, for political reasons, has refused to list them.
The Gunnison Sage-grouse is also known as the Sagehen, Sage-grouse or Sage Cock.
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