Species On The Move

As climate change impacts habitats around the world, species are on the move, trying to adapt — and survive.

Source:

  • Audubon
The Greater Sage-Grouse has a unique approach to breeding

The Greater Sage-Grouse has a unique approach to breeding. Courtesy: Bureau of Land Management

About This Species

The Greater Sage-Grouse lives in the sagebrush of the West, where it is known for its dramatic mating display. Males gather in groups of 70 or so, fanning out their spiky, peacock-like tails and puffing out their chests to attract a mate. The Greater Sage-Grouse is a social species, with flocks sometimes numbering in the hundreds. They eat lots of sagebrush, in addition to leaves, flowers, fruits and insects. The species is reliant upon a specific breeding area and primarily stays in the same location, instead of migrating—meaning any changes to its habitat has significant impacts on the bird. 

Source: Audubon's Climate Report and Field Guide

Conservation Status

The Greater Sage-Grouse has disappeared from much of its former range, thanks to several threats. Large portions of its habitat have been lost due to farmland clearing and overgrazing, and the remaining parts of its range are also threatened by energy development and invasive plants.

Climate projections for the Greater Sage-Grouse's range
Source: Audubon's Field Guide

The Greater Sage-Grouse from John J. Audubon's Birds of America

The Greater Sage-Grouse from John J. Audubon's Birds of America

Looking Forward

As the impacts of climate change advance and wildfires grow more frequent and severe, the Greater Sage-Grouse is projected to lose 71 percent of its breeding range by 2080. Audubon's climate model also projects the bird will lose 92 percent of its range in non-breeding season. It's unknown how the Greater Sage-Grouse will be able to adapt, with its reliance on a specific habitat and location leaving it particularly vulnerable. 

Source: Audubon's Climate Report and Field Guide

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