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2012-04-07
How many endemic birds in Western USA?


Western USA has 5 endemic birds.

They are: -

Black Rosy Finch

Gunnison Grouse

Yellow-billed Magpie

Brown-capped Rosy Finch

Island Scrub Jay

 

Gunnison sage-Grouse

The Gunnison sage-grouse - Centrocercus minimus - is endemic to the USA and is confined to the Gunnison basin in Gunnison and Saguache counties, south-west Colorado, with small, fragmented populations in Colorado and one in south-east Utah. They are found in a variety of habitats such as large expanses of sagebrush with a diversity of grasses and forbs and healthy wetland and riparian ecosystems.

Description

A small, variegated greyish-brown grouse. Black belly and long, stiff, pointed tail feathers. Male has black throat and upper neck, separated by V-shaped white line. Large white ruff on breast and some white bars on tail. Large, yellowish cervical sacs and inconspicuous yellow eyecombs.

Food

Sagebrush, forbs and insects

Breeding

Male Gunnison sage-grouse conduct an elaborate display when trying to attract females on breeding grounds, or leks in the spring.  They will strut, flap their wings against their white pouches and utter a distinct series of sounds by vocalizing and popping two air sacs within their pouches.  Nesting begins in mid-April and continues into July.

Conservation Status – Endangered

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that the Gunnison sage-grouse, warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act. This species qualifies as Endangered because it has a very small occupied range which is severely fragmented and declining. Threats are habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation is resulting from conversion to roads, reservoirs, livestock-grazing, hay and other crops, real estate developments, power lines, land treatments and increased deer populations.

Birdwatching

The best time to view the elaborate and bizarre breeding dance of the Gunnison Sage-grouse is from 1 April to early-May. The Waunita Lek, is located 19 miles east of Gunnison. The lek is located on private property, but the pull-off is a Colorado Division of Wildlife managed Watchable Wildlife site. The site is open April 1st through May 15th.


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