Common Name
GUNNISON SAGE-GROUSE

Scientific Name
CENTROCERCUS MINIMUS

View Utah Distribution Map

Photo by Ron Stewart
Photo Courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

The Gunnison Sage-grouse, Centrocercus minimus, is a newly discovered species that is rare in Utah. It formerly occurred in areas of Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. The distribution of the species has declined, however, and it now occurs only in parts of southeastern Utah and southwestern Colorado. Habitat loss appears to be the major threat to the Gunnison Sage-grouse, a species Federally listed as threatened.

Although the Gunnison Sage-grouse is similar to other sage-grouse in Utah, it differs by being slightly smaller, having different tail coloration, and exhibiting distinctive breeding behaviors. The Gunnison Sage-grouse prefers sagebrush and sagebrush/grassland habitats. It feeds mainly on sagebrush and other plant material, although insects are also consumed.

The Gunnison Sage-grouse is a colonial breeder that mates in the spring. Males put on elaborate courtship displays before mating occurs. Females then lay a clutch of approximately eight eggs; eggs hatch in about one month. The young are tended by the female and can fly at one to two weeks of age.

Sources:

  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

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