Gunnison Sage-Grouse: Recognized as a species in 2000. Large grouse, mottled gray-brown overall with white breast, black face, chin, throat, bib and belly. Black bill. Yellow eye combs and long black filoplumes on neck show when courting. Brown tail feathers are long and pointed, with white bands.
Range and Habitat
Gunnison Sage-Grouse: Unique to Gunnison Basin of southwestern Colorado, some have moved into Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and the Kansas-Oklahoma border. Prefers open landscapes with areas of scrub vegetation.
The Gunnison Sage-Grouse was considered part of a single species, the Sage Grouse. Recent genetic work and behavioral studies have split this former species in to the Greater Sage-Grouse and the Gunnison Sage-Grouse.
Their known population is quite small, with an estimate of under 4,000 individuals. Recent declining trends for the species led to a cessation of hunting in 2000.
The male performs an elaborate "strutting display" during courtship. Females choose a mate from large groups of males gathered at communal display sites, or leks.
A group of grouse has many collective nouns, including a "chorus", "covey", "drumming", "grumbling", and "leash" of grouse.
The Gunnison Sage-Grouse has a very small range, confined to only two counties in Colorado and a small population in Utah that total less that 500 square kilometers in area. These birds prefer a temperate shrubland ecosystem. The global population of this bird is estimated only about 3,000 breeding individuals and shows signs of decline that necessitate inclusion on the IUCN Red List. For this reason, the current evaluation status of the Gunnison Sage-Grouse is Endangered.