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Sage Grouse - Grouse Hunting - Upland Hunting

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Sage Grouse

 

Description

Sage Grouse is usually chubby, has a small head, round body, and a long tail. Males change their body shape to attract females. Ergo, they become almost spherical by puffing up their chest and droop their wings while fanning their tail. Although Sage grouse have a black belly, they are mottled gray-brown. Male sage grouse have a black head and throat with fluffy white ruff breasts. On the other hand, female sage grouse have a black cheek patch with white markings behind the eyes.

Habitat

Sage grouse represent the sagebrush steppe of the West because it’s their only habitat. These game birds are widespread across the sagebrush plains but they are very sensitive to disturbance. During the summer season, sage grouse gather on patches (open grounds/leks) for males to display to the females (to impress females for mating purposes).

Sage grouse has lost most of its habitat through overgrazing or clearing sagebrush for farmland. Sagebrush mainly grows on plains, foothills and mountain slopes. The prime nesting habitat is mainly in the lower wet areas when the young ones can forage for insects. If you love bird hunting, you can hunt sage grouse in the sagebrush plains.

Diet

Sage leaves, insects and buds are the main type of food for sage grouse. However, during fall and winter seasons, these game birds feed entirely on fresh shoots and leaves of sagebrush. But, in other seasons, these birds can eat flowers, leaves, and buds from a wide variety of plants with insects and other small animals being a part of the diet.

Nesting

Traditional display grounds may be used for years and even by different generations. During courtship displays, the males puff out their chest, raises and spread their tails, lower their wings and throw their head backward while producing a loud pop sound. The old and experienced males are usually chosen by females for mating. The nest is built by the females and the site is usually on the ground under a clump of grass or sagebrush. The nest is a shallow depression with plant materials that are sparsely lined to provide warmth. Females look for a site that’s hidden to increase the chance of their chicks surviving from predators like coyotes and ravens.

Eggs

Female sage grouse lay about 7 to 9 eggs although the number of eggs can also range from 6 to 13. Incubation is done by the females only for 25 to 27 days. After hatching, the young ones leave the nest. Although they are tended by the female grouse, they feed on their own.


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