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Lesser Prairie-Chicken

Tympanuchus pallidicinctus ORDER: GALLIFORMES FAMILY: PHASIANIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Near Threatened

A smaller, paler version of the Greater Prairie-Chicken, the Lesser Prairie-Chicken is now found only in restricted areas of five states in the southern Great Plains. It inhabits open rangeland dominated by shinnery oak or sand sagebrush.

At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
15–16.1 in
38–41 cm
Weight
22.2–28.7 oz
628–813 g
Other Names
  • Tétras pâle (French)

Habitat


Grassland

Food


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

Near Threatened

Lesser Prairie-Chicken is a federally listed threatened species, and is on the 2016 State of North America's Birds' Watch List, which lists bird species that are most at risk of extinction without significant conservation actions to reverse declines and reduce threats. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 32,000, with 100% living in the U.S. The species rates a 19 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. It is a Tri-National Concern Species, a U.S.-Canada Stewardship species, and is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Lesser Prairie-Chicken have experienced large population declines since the 1800s, primarily as the result of droughts, conversion of rangeland to cropland, excessive grazing by livestock, chemical control of sand sagebrush and shinnery oak on rangelands, and perhaps hunting when populations were low. As a threatened species, hunting Lesser Prairie-Chicken is now illegal.

Credits

Range Map Help

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

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Can We Learn From The History Of The Heath Hen?, Living Bird, Winter 2014.

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