May the best strut win. That's what it comes down to for the Gunnison sage-grouse during the spring mating season. With only moments to impress scrutinizing females, the male gives it everything he's got—raising and lowering his wings, showing off his crest and wagging his tail. He also uses the two large air sacs on his breast to make a seductive popping sound. Stakes are high: in this polygamous system, a small percentage of males claim the majority of mates. Females nest and raise the chicks alone. The sagebrush-rich habitat that sustains these birds is being threatened from many sides, and only a handful of fragmented populations remain.
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United States of America
Sagebrush rangelands in southwestern Colorado and extreme eastern Utah
Length, males average 56 cm; females average 46 cm
Males 1,622-2,435 g; females 900-1,335 g (during breeding season)
Estimated at fewer than 3,000