© Mike Norton (Colorado)

Gunnison's Sage-grouse

Excerpts from Colorado Division of Wildlife Species Profile.   Click here for the full profile, including range map.


The Gunnison Sage-grouse is a newly-classified, unique species of sage-grouse found south of the Colorado River.  They are about one-third smaller than the typical sage grouse, and males have more distinct, white tail feathers.  Female Gunnison and typical sage grouse have nearly the same plumage, but the female Gunnison is again about one-third smaller than other sage grouse.


The Gunnison Sage-grouse requires a variety of habitats such as large expanses of sage with a diversity of grasses and forbs and healthy riparian ecosystems.

Conservation Status

The Gunnison Sage-grouse is a species of special concern in Colorado and is a candidate for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act. Housing and human development, livestock grazing, water diversion projects and increased deer and elk populations have all contributed to the loss of habitat for the Gunnison Sage-grouse. The Colorado Wildlife Commission eliminated hunting in areas occupied by Gunnison Sage-grouse in 2000..


Historically, Gunnison Sage-grouse were found throughout the southwestern portion of Colorado and the southeastern Utah. Approximately 3,500 breeding Gunnison Sage-grouse occur among 7 separate populations throughout SW Colorado and SE Utah. The largest population, about 2,500 birds, inhabits the Gunnison Basin. 

The separate populations in Colorado are:  Pinion Mesa, Crawford, San Miguel Basin, Gunnison Basin, Dove Creek and Poncha Pass. The Utah population is near Monticello.

Quick Facts

Colorado Natural Heritage Program
Colorado State University, 8002 Campus Delivery
Fort Collins, CO 80523-8002

Contact Information

Phone: (970) 491-1309
Fax: (970) 491-3349


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