Merlin

Greater Prairie-Chicken Identification

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The Four Keys to ID

  • Size & Shape

    A chunky game bird with a small head, chubby body, short legs, and relatively short tail.

    Relative Size

    Larger than a Ruffed Grouse, smaller than a Ring-necked Pheasant.

    Relative Sizecrow sizedcrow-sized
    Measurements
    • Both Sexes
      • Length: 16.9 in (43 cm)
      • Weight: 31.9-36.1 oz (904-1024 g)
      • Wingspan: 27.4-28.5 in (69.5-72.5 cm)

Regional Differences

Greater Prairie-Chickens are divided into two living subspecies plus the extinct Heath Hen, which lived in the northeastern U.S. Attwater’s Prairie-Chicken (attwateri) is a small, dark prairie-chicken that was once common around the western Gulf of Mexico but is now found only in three very small areas. Greater Prairie-Chickens that inhabit the Great Plains (pinnatus) are larger than Attwater’s and have mostly bare lower legs.