Have you ever heard of the Gunnison sage-grouse? Probably not. And yet it is one of the most endangered bird species in North America.
"The bird was only discovered 13 years ago, and yet it’s already nearly a goner. Today, fewer than 5,000 of these birds remain in the wild, and they are rapidly dwindling," reports Discovery News.
The ground-dwelling bird, down to living in only seven geographically isolated populations in eastern Utah and Colorado, is about the size of a chicken. During mating season, the males put on quite a display by fanning their spiky tail feathers and making a loud popping noise with the air sacs on their chests as they try to impress the females.
"The Gunnison sage grouse is an emblematic species for a uniquely American ecosystem, every bit as worthy of investment in its preservation as our finest man-made treasures. Future generations will marvel at the Gunnison sage grouse, as I did on that cool spring morning several years ago. But only if we save it today," writes John W. Fitzpatrick, director of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, in the New York Times.
This sage-grouse is a beautiful bird, even if few of us may ever even see one in the wild. But there are more species that line up next to it at the cliff edge of extinction. The list of endangered bird species is disturbingly long. Among some of the most endangered are these amazing, unique and beautiful birds listed here. Find out some of the many species that need our attention and conservation efforts most by clicking through this slideshow.