Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) DSC_0145
A bird of the open sagebrush plains, the Greater Sage-Grouse is the largest grouse species in North America. Like many other grouse species, the Greater Sage-Grouse male plays no role in the raising of the young. Males display on dancing grounds known as leks. Females visit the leks to mate, then go off to raise their brood by themselves. Traditional lekking grounds may be used for decades. Although many male Greater Sage- Grouse may display at a lek, only one or two males get picked by a majority of the females for mating. Greater Sage-Grouse populations declined throughout most of the twentieth century, but following a review the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service concluded in January 2005 that the species did not warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act at that time. We were fortunate to observe a lek with about 15 males displaying for 2 females on two consecutive mornings in April 2007, near Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.