But the leaves are plenty nutritious, which is why sage grouse tend to gain weight in the winter months , unlike most animals. Do they move around during the winter or stay put in the same place?
While males may reach 26 to 30 inches long and weight between four and seven pounds, females average between 19 and 23 inches in length and weigh between two and four pounds . The greater sage-grouse is a signature species of the sagebrush steppe, where they depend on sagebrush plants for food, cover, and roosting.
Where do sage grouse go to show off?
Sage grouse males show off for a female at sunrise on a lek . What the heck is a lek? A lek is the name of an area where sage-grouse congregate in the spring. The males choose an area where their courtship display can be easily seen by females.
There are also populations found in the grasslands of the United States. Greater Sage-Grouse are listed as endangered under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). Sage grouse now occupy only about 7% of their historical range in Canada. The estimated number of Greater Sage-Grouse in Canada has fallen to an all-time low level.
While writing we ran into the question “When do sage-grouse go into leks?”.
Lekking generally happens from late February through May . The timing for when sage-grouse gather on specific leks will depend on the weather and where you are in the range. Although several males will display on a lek, all of the females will choose the same one or two males to mate with (yup, it’s ladies’ choice!).
You may be thinking “What kind of habitat do sage grouse live in?”
The most common answer is; greater sage-grouse are obligate residents of the sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystem, usually inhabiting sagebrush-grassland or juniper (Juniperus spp.) sagebrush-grassland communities. Meadows surrounded by sagebrush may be used as feeding grounds.
What do sage grouse eat?
The staple of a sage grouse diet year-round is sagebrush leaves. Since sage grouse don’t have stones in their gizzards like many birds do (which helps grind seeds or nuts), they rely on soft foods like leaves .
Sage grouse eat 100 percent sagebrush leaves in the winter. They need to fill their crops – the food storage sack in their throat — full of leaves every day. Their crop is a little larger than a golf ball when it’s full. Second, the birds need to be relatively undisturbed.
Then, what do greater sage-grouse chicks eat?
The answer is that in their first week of life, greater sage-grouse chicks consume primarily insects , especially ants and beetles. Their diet then switches to forbs, with sagebrush gradually assuming primary importance. In a Utah study, forbs composed 54 to 60% of the summer diet of juveniles, while the diet of adult birds was 39 to 47% forbs.
So, do sage grouse eat dandelions?
Some have found that And even their other favorite foods, dandelions, yarrow, a few minor bean-like plants and the occasional bug, are merely accents to a steady diet of artemisia plants. And guess what? Sage grouse don’t have a muscular gizzard to grind hard foods like seeds ., and freaky, eh?
Do sage grouse prefer big sagebrush or small sagebrush?
Sage grouse prefer the other two subspecies to basin big sagebrush. In a common garden study done in Utah, greater sage-grouse preferred mountain big sagebrush over Wyoming and basin big sagebrush. However, when leaves and buds of the preferred species became limited, the birds shifted to the lesser-liked plants.
Sagebrush communities supporting greater sage-grouse include silver sagebrush and fringed sagebrush ( A. frigida ). Their historic range spanned 16 American states and Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan in Canada. Between 1988 and 2012, the Canadian population declined by 98%.
What is a greater sage grouse strut display?
Male greater sage-grouse strut displays on a lek near Hudson, Wyoming USA. During the spring, males gather on breeding grounds, called leks. Males perform strut displays to court females and define their display territories on the lek.