Found only in Colorado and Southeast Utah; closely resembles Greater Sage-Grouse. Adult male has blackish head, white breast, black belly, black upperparts marbled with white, short yellow legs, and long, finely barred tail. Female is finely patterned brown, black, and white overall, with solid black belly, large black spots on sides, weak white supercilium, and sharp tail. In flight, tail is wedge-shaped, and underwings are white with dark flight feathers. Male in spring display puffs up yellow air sacs along throat, surrounded by fluffy white patches, raises crown feathers, and struts turkey-like with stiff tail while vocalizing. Male is larger than female. Smaller than Greater Sage-Grouse, with slightly lighter tail, more obvious plumes on the hindcrown during display, and different voice; until recently, the two were considered conspecific.
Length: 56 (cm) Wingspan: 76 (cm)
Male in display emits strange popping, hooting noises created by inflating and then deflating air sacs; lower than Greater Sage-Grouse, with more sounds in each series. Calls include soft clucking notes.
Sagebrush and short grass combination.
In early spring, males perform early-morning strutting displays at concentrated traditional leks; females browse among the males to choose mates. During rest of the year, usually found in pairs or small groups among sagebrush. Nest is in a lined ground depression under sagebrush clump. Declining; population currently estimated at 3,500 individuals.
Forages on ground, pecking at a variety of seeds, grains, leaves, buds, and flowers.
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