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The Gunnison sage grouse (Centrocercus minimus) is a Forest Service sensitive species. In 2006, the species was under review by the US Fish and Wildlife Service for listing as a threatened species.  It was not listed as a threatened species but still remains a sensitive species for the GMUG Forest.

The Gunnison sage grouse is a species of sage grouse native to North America.  This species is limited to southwestern Colorado and eastern Utah.  A total of five distinct populations of Gunnison sage grouse are recognized within the range of this species, based on their geographic locations.  The Gunnison Basin has the largest population, followed by the San Miguel Basin population.  The other three populations are very small in comparison.  Studies indicate these populations do not interact naturally.  Some efforts have been made to capture and relocate birds from the larger populations to enhance genetic diversity and expand their range.

The Gunnison sage grouse is a sagebrush obligate species.  Nesting habitat consists of moderate to dense canopy sagebrush with a dense understory of tall grass stubble to provide cover.  After leaving the nest, the hen will move her chicks to areas of sagebrush interspersed with grassy, wet meadows.  The sagebrush provides cover, and the meadows provide forbs and insects for food.  As the chicks mature, they continue feeding on insects, seed and green grass or forbs.  As winter approaches, they migrate to winter ranges with tall sagebrush. 

Source: Craig Grother, Wildlife Biologist
Norwood and Ouray Ranger Districts
Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, Gunnison NF