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Greater Prairie-Chicken

Tympanuchus cupido ORDER: GALLIFORMES FAMILY: PHASIANIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Vulnerable

A grouse of open grassland, the Greater Prairie-Chicken is known for its mating dance. Males display together in a communal lek, where they raise ear-like feathers above their heads, inflate orange sacs on the sides of their throats, and stutter-step around while making a deep hooting moan.

Bird Festivals
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At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
16.9 in
43 cm
Weight
24.7–42.3 oz
700–1200 g
Other Names
  • Poule des prairies (French)

Cool Facts

  • The extinct Heath Hen was a distinct subspecies of the Greater Prairie-Chicken that was found in the scrub oakland and fire-created blueberry barrens of the East Coast. The last Heath Hens were confined to the island of Martha's Vineyard, off the coast of Massachusetts, where they went extinct in 1932.

Habitat


Grassland

Open prairie and oak savannah.

Food


Seeds

Leaves, seeds, buds, cultivated grains, and insects.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Condition at Hatching
Downy and able to follow mother.
Nest Placement

Ground

Behavior


Ground Forager

Multiple males display at group display site, known as a lek.

Conservation

status via IUCN

Vulnerable

Eastern subspecies, known as the Heath Hen, went extinct in 1932. The Texas form, the Attwater's Prairie-Chicken is critically endangered and at severe risk of extinction.

Credits

  • Schroeder, M. A. and L. A. Robb. 1993. Greater Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus cupido). In The Birds of North America, No. 36 (A. Poole, P. Stettenheim, and F. Gill, Eds.). Philadelphia: The Academy of Natural Sciences; Washington, DC: The American Ornithologists' Union.

Range Map Help

Greater Prairie-Chicken Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

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