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Sage-Grouse Nests

Photo shows location of sage-grouse nest under sagebrush cover near an area with green plants. Close-up of sage-grouse on nest.

  • Eighty percent of hens nest within 4 miles of the lek they attend.
  • Hens lay 2 eggs in 3 days; clutch size ranges from 7 to 9.
  • Incubation is 28 days.
  • Nesting dates ranged from April 22 to July 10 in one study in Montana.

Successful Hatch

Photo of nest with successfully hatched eggs. Close-up ofsuccessfully hatched egg.

The chick chips its way through the eggshell with an egg tooth, a temporary tip on its bill that helps the chick break the shell. The chick hatches after 1 to 2 days of pecking circular fractures around the large end of the egg, finally penetrating it.

  • Circumference of large end is broken.
  • Membrane remains behind.

Unsuccessful Hatch

Photo of egg broken by predator. Close-up of egg with pushed-in broken shell.

  • Membrane is gone.
  • Eggs are broken at center, pushed in from outside, or in the case of snakes, swallowed whole leaving no evidence.
  • Shells are scattered around.
  • Shell is pushed in from outside.