February 22, 2016 – Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus)

Requested by: @myfavoritecolorisbluh

Found in the inland northwest of the United States, these grouse live only in sagebrush steppe habitats. They eat the leaves, flowers, and buds of various plants, especially sagebrush, as well as some insects. Males gather at leks (display grounds), competing for the attention of females by fanning their tails, gulping up to a gallon (3.78 liters) of air into pouches in their esophagus and forcing it out to create a low popping sound. They defend territories of a few yards (meters) while females evaluate their performances. Many females mate with the same male and many males do not get a chance to breed. Females build the nests, incubate the eggs, and raise the chicks alone. Classified as Near Threatened by the IUCN, their population declined by around 83% from 1966 to 2014. Fragmentation of their habitat continues to threaten the species, as they are very sensitive to disturbance such as cultivation of land or construction.

You can listen to the sound of their displays here (or click the video tab on the page to watch them at a lek):


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