Centrocercus Urophasianus – Greater Sage-Grouse

Centrocercus Urophasianus - Greater Sage-Grouse found in the US

The greater sage-grouse, Centrocercus urophasianus often known as the sagehen, is North America’s biggest grouse. The Western United States and southern Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada. The Gunnison sage-grouse was first classified as a distinct species in 2000. [3] The Mono Basin sage grouse population may be separate.

During the winter, the greater sage-grouse may descend to lower elevations to reproduce. Their lek system allows them to mate and nest in grass or sagebrush areas. It feeds on sagebrush, as well as other plants and insects. The greater sage grouse lacks muscle and cannot digest hard seeds like other grouse.

Quick Overview: Centrocercus Urophasianus – Greater Sage-Grouse
Body size: 21-30 in (53-76 cm) and a weight of 3174 g (112 oz)
Main colors: Gray, Brown, White
Range: Rocky Mountains of United States
Migratory Bird: No
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: All Year (January – December)
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Greater Sage-Grouse Description

Females have cryptic plumage that allows them to blend in when nesting. They have less white than males and are more mottled with gray and brown. They also lack the male’s espophageal sacs. A female’s neck is mostly gray and white. The female Sage grouse’s tail is not as long as the male’s.

Centrocercus Urophasianus - Greater Sage-Grouse found in the US
Male Centrocercus Urophasianus – Greater Sage-Grouse. Source: Wikipedia


These birds have a length of 21-30 in (53-76 cm) and a weight of 3174 g (112 oz). Their wings could range from 28-38 in (71-97 cm).


Because sage grouse lack a robust gizzard, they eat mostly soft things. In the first week of life, a Sage grouse eats 60% insects. However, as the bird ages, its diet shifts from insectivorous to herbivorous. Insects comprise 5% of a Sage grouse’s diet by 12 weeks.

Adult Sage grouse are herbivores, eating soft vegetation. Sedge (Artemisia spp.) leaves comprise 60-80% of their diet in the summer and nearly 100% in the winter. Sage grouse also eat June Grass.


Sage grouse are always linked with sagebrush species (Artemisia spp.). They use sagebrush for leks, nesting, eating, raising, protection, and wintering. Year-round, sage grouse inhabit sagebrush ecosystems. Sage grouse require damp marsh and wet meadow habitats (mesic habitats) to help nurse their young. So, late spring and summer are the busiest times.


The Sage grouse is a sociable bird in the winter and spring. In the winter, there are flocks of sexually divided individuals (males and females). In the spring, flocks recombine at lek locations for breeding. Sage grouse are sedentary birds, however, during the winter, they have been observed moving around looking for food.

The sage grouse’s breeding strategy is perhaps the most intriguing. Sage grouse are a lekking species. Sexually mature individuals meet in diverse areas throughout the breeding season. Males use these sites to attract ladies. The show attracts females and defends the territory. The males with the best beautiful displays to the female will mate.

Centrocercus Urophasianus Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Galliformes
  • Family: Phasianidae
  • Genus: Centrocerus
  • Species: Centrocercus urophasianus

Best time of the year to see

In the United States, the best time of year to see these birds is all year round, regardless of the season. This refers to any month of the year between January and December.

Distribution of the Greater Sage-Grouse in the USA

This species may be found in Alaska, the Yukon and Northwest Territories, as well as much of British Columbia, and south through the Rocky Mountains to Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico.

The Greater Sage-Grouse can be found in the following states in the United States – California, Idaho, Nevada, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Centrocercus Urophasianus – Greater Sage-Grouse

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