CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) -- Environmental groups want a federal court to force the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to propose an endangered or threatened listing for the sage grouse.

The Center for Biological Diversity and WildEarth Guardians on Monday joined Western Watersheds Project in a complaint it filed in May in U.S. District Court in Idaho.

In March, the federal government decided that sage grouse warranted threatened or endangered status, but also said formal listing under the law was precluded by other agency priorities.

The groups want to force the government to propose listing the species or two sub-populations of the bird that live in Nevada, California or Washington.

Sage grouse are ground-dwelling birds that make their home in the sagebrush plains of numerous western states.

Copyright 2010 The AP.

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