The Gunnison sage-grouse was the native species in New Mexico and was apparently extirpated from the state by 1912 (Bailey, 1928; Ligon, 1961).
The Gunnison sage-grouse is smaller than the greater sage-grouse (Hupp and Braun, 1991; Young et al.
Gunnison sage-grouse in southwestern Colorado presently are also patchily distributed as reported in the historical records (Oyler-McCance et al.
The historical distribution of Gunnison sage-grouse in Colorado.
Like all grouse, Gunnison sage-grouse are generally shy, but when humans approach too closely, they explode out of the brush--a trait that's earned them the nickname "heart-attack bird.
They look like King Henry the Eighth, with their white breasts like the ermine collars of monarchs," says Leigh Robertson, coordinator of the San Miguel Basin Gunnison Sage-Grouse Working Group.
Because Gunnison sage-grouse are extraordinarily faithful to their leks (the clearings where annual courtship dances take place), they're reluctant to establish new sites when development destroys those mating grounds.
In southwest Colorado, the Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, area ranchers, county officials, and other local groups joined forces in 1995, more than a decade before the Gunnison sage-grouse became a candidate for the endangered species list.