Gunnison Sage-Grouse

ID Info
Silhouette Game BirdsGame Birds

Gunnison Sage-Grouse

Centrocercus minimus
  • ORDER: Galliformes
  • FAMILY: Phasianidae
Basic Description

Gunnison Sage-Grouse are similar to, but rarer than, their close relative the Greater Sage-Grouse. They have the same spectacular courtship, where males gather on lekking grounds to puff themselves up, fan their tails into a starburst, and use bizarre pouches in their chests to make loud burbling noises. Females gather in flocks to decide which males to mate with, then raise the young entirely on their own. Gunnison Sage-Grouse are restricted to western Colorado and eastern Utah; they number about 5,000 and are federally threatened.

More ID Info
image of range map for Gunnison Sage-GrouseRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

Find This Bird

The best way to see Gunnison Sage-Grouse is at a lek site—but be aware that sage-grouse are extremely sensitive to disturbance. Because of this species’ low numbers, only one lek is accessible to the public as of 2015. It’s the Wuanita Lek about 19 miles east of Gunnison, Colorado. Western State Colorado University hosts a page about the lek, its current viewing conditions, and behavior and precautions for lek viewing.

Other Names
  • Gallo de Las Artemisas Chico (Spanish)
  • Tétras du Gunnison (French)
  • Cool Facts