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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Greater Sage-Grouse
Centrocercus urophasianus
by Cornell Lab of Ornithology

A bird of the open sagebrush plains, the Greater Sage-Grouse is the largest grouse species in North America.


Adult Description

    Large chicken-like bird.     Grayish in color. Belly black.     Long tail, with spiky tail     feathers.

Immature Description

    Immature similar to adult of     same sex.


Similar Species

  • Very similar to Gunnison Sage-Grouse, which is smaller, has a paler tail, and more prominent head plumes. Ranges do not overlap.
  • Wild Turkey is larger, has rounded tail feathers, and lacks a black belly.
  • Both Dusky Grouse and Sooty Grouse are distinguished from female Greater Sage-Grouse by slightly smaller size, rounded (not pointed) tail, and plainer underparts lacking blackish belly patch.
  • Sharp-tailed Grouse is distinguished from female Greater Sage-Grouse by smaller size, short tail, white undertail coverts, and plainer underparts lacking blackish belly.

At a Glance
Ground Forager
Near Threatened

Cool Facts

  • Like many other grouse species, the Greater Sage-Grouse male plays no role in the raising of the young. Males display on dancing grounds known as leks. Females visit the leks to obtain matings, and then go off to raise their brood by themselves.
  • Traditional lekking grounds may be used for years.
  • Although many male Greater Sage-Grouse may display at a lek, only one or two males get picked by a majority of the females for mating.

Both Sexes
        22–29.5 in
        56–75 cm

        49.4–102.3 oz
        1400–2900 g

Other Names
    Tétras des armoises (French)


Foothills, plains, and mountain slopes where sagebrush is present.


Leaves, buds, stems, flowers, fruit, and insects.

Nest Placement


Nesting Facts

    Clutch Size
        6–13 eggs

    Condition at Hatching
        Downy and able to follow mother.


Ground Forager
Multiple males display at group display site, known as a lek.

Conservation status via IUCN

Near Threatened
Populations declining; has disappeared from a number of states and provinces.
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