Greater Sage-Grouse
(Centrocercus urophasianus)


Picture of bird
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The Greater Sage-Grouse is a native species found in Canada and the United States. Historically, two subspecies occurred in Canada, but only one remains and occurs in very small numbers. The urophasianus subspecies is restricted to the sagebrush grasslands of southeastern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan. This subspecies was listed as Endangered under the Species at Risk Act in 2003; it was re-assessed as such by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada in 2008 (COSEWIC 2008c). The Canadian population is small and has shown a large and accelerating decline since the 1970s. In 2013, the Government of Canada issued an Emergancy Order for the Protection of the Greater Sage-Grouse to protect its habitat. The phaios subspecies was formerly found in southern British Columbia. It is considered Extirpated since it has not been observed in the Canadian part of its range for over 100 years (COSEWIC 2008c). This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.


Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
COSEWIC (Canada)Extirpated2008Greater Sage-Grouse phaios subspecies
COSEWIC (Canada)Endangered2008Greater Sage-Grouse urophasianus subspecies
SARA (Canada)Extirpated2003Greater Sage-Grouse phaios subspecies
SARA (Canada)Endangered2003Greater Sage-Grouse urophasianus subspecies
IUCN (Global)Near threatened2018 
Partners in Flight (North America)Watch list - yellow D2017 
Wild Species (Canada)Critically imperiled2015 
State of North America’s BirdsWatch list2016 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaLarge DecreaseHighNot Applicable
Greater Sage-Grouse phaios subspeciesLarge DecreaseHighBelow Acceptable Level
Greater Sage-Grouse urophasianus subspeciesLarge DecreaseHighBelow Acceptable Level

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada< 500 adults

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence


Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population
CanadaVery Low

Conservation and management

The primary threats to Greater Sage-Grouse in Canada include habitat loss and fragmentation, drought and extreme weather as a result of climate change, disturbances from human developments such as oil and gas developments, increased predator pressure, habitat degradation as a result of overgrazing by livestock, direct disturbance to lekking and nesting birds, and alteration of local hydrology (Environment Canada 2013). West Nile Virus has also had an impact on Canadian populations, as well as the lack of genetic variability (COSEWIC 2008c). For information on the legal status of this species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) and to view the Recovery Strategy, see the Species at Risk Public Registry.


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type
Prairie PotholesPrairie Potholes, sub-region and priority type: Prairie and Northern -- Conservation