Sage-grouse Conservation and Management
Friday, February 5, 2016
This impressive 6-pound bird is the largest North American grouse.
They are brown, buff, and white with a long tail and black belly.
Sage-grouse are birds of the sagebrush plains. They eat flowers, leaves, buds, and insects. In the winter, their diet is made up of sagebrush leaves and buds.
Sage-grouse are best known for their incredible courtship displays. A displaying male sage-grouse is an impressive sight as he fans his tail, fluffs his ruff, and hoots and pops with his yellow-orange air sacs.
Sage-grouse use an area called a “lek” for their courtship displays. This is a small, open area where a group of males gather to display for the hens. Leks are sometimes used for many years. Because of this, biologists can keep track of populations by observing the number of sage-grouse using a lek.
Sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) once were abundant in sagebrush habitats of the western United States and Canada. Unfortunately, the bird and its habitat have declined in abundance.
Sagebrush habitat is so important to sage grouse that the loss of this habitat has hurt these birds in large parts of the western rangelands. It's basic - sage-grouse need good-quality sagebrush habitat and without it they can't survive. Fire, invasive species, and human activities have all destroyed sagebrush habitat.
Fortunately, we now understand how important sagebrush habitat is. Hunters, landowners, bird watchers, and many others are working together to help restore and preserve sagebrush habitat.
The 2006 Conservation Plan for the Greater Sage-grouse in Idaho replaces the 1997 plan and incorporates significant new information and includes completed Local Working Group Plans.
If you have questions, or would like a CD containing the entire plan, please contact the Fish & Game Wildlife Bureau at (208) 334-2920.Conservation Plan for the Greater Sage-grouse in Idaho - 2006 [PDF, 6.7 MB]