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Roze Spreeuw

Even geduld...

New species of sage grouse (cf Dutch Birding 23: 172, 2001)

In the late 1970s, wings of Sage Grouse Centrocercus urophasianus from the Gunnison Basin, Colorado, USA, were noted to be smaller than wings obtained elsewhere in Colorado. Subsequent studies have shown that the Gunnison population also differs from other Sage Grouse in biometrics, courtship display and plumage. Recent studies of both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA revealed additional differences. The scientists who discovered these differences have proposed that the Gunnison population represents a new species: Gunnison Sage Grouse Centrocercus minimus (Young, J R, Braun C E, Oyler-Chance, S J, Hupp, J W & Quinn, T W 2000. A new species of sage-grouse (Phasianidae: Centrocercus) from southwestern Colorado. Wilson Bull 112: 445-453). The species is limited to just eight isolated populations in south-western Colorado and San Juan County, Utah. The total estimated spring breeding population is fewer than 5000 individuals. Some populations of Gunnison Sage Grouse are very small and several former populations are known to have become extirpated since 1980, so special conservation measures are clearly warranted to ensure its continued survival.
George Sangster