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Greater Sage-Grouse

Overview

  • Status
    Near Threatened
  • Population
    100,000 to 500,000
  • Scientific Name
    Centrocercus urophasianus
  • Height
    2 feet
  • Weight
    2-7 pounds
  • Length
    21-30 inches
  • Habitats
    Grasslands

Greater sage-grouse were once found across 13 western U.S. states and 3 Canadian provinces. Unfortunately, because of oil and gas development, conversion of land for agricultural use, climate change and human development, sage-grouse only inhibit half their historic range. Well known for their spectacular mating dances performed on specific mating grounds called "leks," these large birds are icons in the western U.S. and Canada.

Animals of the Northern Great Plains

Since 2000, WWF has worked in this part of the country to conserve and restore the Northern Great Plains' natural heritage and native wildlife. So which animals call this beautiful region home, and why do they matter?

Bison on plains

Why They Matter

  • Sage-grouse are indicators of healthy, intact sagebrush habitat. The protection of sage-grouse impacts the other species that share the same habitat, such as pronghorn and songbirds.

     

Threats

  • Population 100,000 to 500,000
  • Extinction Risk Near Threatened
    1. EX
      Extinct

      No reasonable doubt that the last individual has died

    2. EW
      Extinct in the Wild

      Known only to survive in cultivation, in captivity or as a naturalised population

    3. CR
      Critically Endangered

      Facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the Wild

    4. EN
      Endangered

      Facing a high risk of extinction in the Wild

    5. VU
      Vulnerable

      Facing a high risk of extinction in the Wild

    6. NT
      Near Threatened

      Likely to qualify for a threatened category in the near future

    7. LC
      Least Concern

      Does not qualify for Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable, or Near Threatened

Male greater sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) displays his feathers and dances for the female as part of the mating ritual. WWF project site, Montana, Northern Great Plains, United States

Oil and gas development disrupts the landscape and the sage-grouse's ability to reproduce. Predators often perch on the energy towers which is intimidating for the birds.  Loud sounds from the towers also disrupt the grouse's ability to call for mates.

What WWF Is Doing

Greater sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) in mid-flight. WWF project site, Montana, Northern Great Plains, United States.

WWF conducts research to understand how climate change conditions will affect the greater sage-grouse and its habitat in the future. The information will help to identify ways to conserve sage-grouse populations in the Northern Great Plains.

Related Species

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