Tympanuchus pallidicinctus - (Ridgway, 1873)
Lesser Prairie-chicken
Other English Common Names: lesser prairie-chicken
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Tympanuchus pallidicinctus (Ridgway, 1873) (TSN 175838)
French Common Names: TÚtras pÔle
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.101816
Element Code: ABNLC13020
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Other Birds
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Galliformes Phasianidae Tympanuchus
Genus Size: B - Very small genus (2-5 species)
Check this box to expand all report sections:
Concept Reference
Help
Concept Reference: American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.
Concept Reference Code: B98AOU01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Tympanuchus pallidicinctus
Taxonomic Comments: Genetically, the three species of Tympanuchus are not clearly distinct; evidently morphological and behavioral differentiation have progressed rapidly relative to either mtDNA or allozymes (Ellsworth et al. 1994).

Van Den Bussche et al. (2003) found reasonably high levels of genetic diversity and regional differences in genetic patterns (based on mitochondrial DNA and microsatellites) in lesser prairie-chicken populations in Oklahoma and New Mexico. Hagen (2003) found similar patterns in Colorado and Kansas. An examination of mtDNA variation in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico indicated that New Mexico had the lowest genetic diversity (Hagen 2003). This probably reflected inbreeding depression (Bouzat and Johnson 2004).
Conservation Status
Help

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3
Global Status Last Reviewed: 15Dec2017
Global Status Last Changed: 24Aug2000
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by calculator
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: This species has a small, fragmented range in the southwestern Great Plains region. Distribution and abundance have declined, primarily due to habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation caused by conversion of native rangelands to introduced forages and cultivation, recent and anticipated conversion of Conservation Reserve Program lands to cropland, cumulative habitat degradation caused by inappropriate livestock grazing practices, wind energy development, oil and gas development, woody plant invasion of open prairies due to fire suppression, inappropriate herbicide applications, and habitat fragmentation caused by structural and transportation developments (USFWS 2010).
Nation: United States
National Status: N3 (05Jan1997)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Colorado (S2), Kansas (S3), Nebraska (SX), New Mexico (S2B,S2N), Oklahoma (S1), Texas (S2B)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: VU - Vulnerable

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 20,000-200,000 square km (about 8000-80,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Historical range extended from southeastern Colorado and southwestern Kansas southward through western Oklahoma to southeastern New Mexico and western Texas (Hagen and Giesen 2005; USFWS 2009, 2010). Currently, the species is discontinuously distributed within a small portion of the historical range, including all five of these states. Formerly the species may have ranged north to southwestern Nebraska, but there is no evidence of breeding in that state, and the species' ephemeral occurrence there may have been an artifact of post-settlement habitat changes (AOU 1983, Giesen 1998).

Area of Occupancy: >12,500 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: Current occupied range recently was estimated at 64,414 sq. km (Playa Lakes Joint Venture 2007; USFWS 2009, 2010).

Number of Occurrences: 81 - 300
Number of Occurrences Comments: The precise number of occurrences (subpopulations) has not been determined using standardized separation criteria, but probably there are at least several dozen given a separation distance of 15 km.

Population Size: 10,000 - 100,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Recent population estimate for each state are as follows (see USFWS 2010): Colorado: 1,500 (in 2000); Kansas: 19,700-31,100 (in 2006); New Mexico: 4,968 (in 2009); Oklahoma: < 3,000 (in 2000); Texas: 6,077-24,132 (in 2007). Total population based on these estimates is approximately 35,000-65,000.

Overall Threat Impact: Very high
Overall Threat Impact Comments: HABITAT: The primary threat is habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation, principally due to the conversion of native sand sagebrush and shinnery oak rangeland to cropland and "improved" pastures, overgrazing, and brush control (Crawford 1980, Hamerstrom and Hamerstrom 1961, Jones 1964b, Mote et al. 1999, Taylor and Guthery 1980b). Areas with greater than 20-37 percent cultivation may be incapable of supporting stable populations (Crawford and Bolen 1976). Habitat fragmentation is detrimental for several reasons: fragments may be smaller than needed home range size (Samson 1980); necessary habitat diversity may be lost, and the probability of recolonization decreases as distance from nearest patch increases (Wilcove et al. 1986, Knopf 1996). Fragmentation also renders nests more susceptible to predation (Mote et al. 1999). Patten et al. (2005) suggested that increased habitat fragmentation in Oklahoma resulted in higher rates of mortality than in the less fragmented habitat in New Mexico.

The possible conversion of over a million acres of currently enrolled CRP grasslands within the next two years has the potential to cause the destruction or modification of 14 percent of occupied habitat (USFWS 2010).

Development of wind energy and construction of associated infrastructure are occurring within occupied portions of lesser prairie-chicken habitat and are expected to continue. Such development renders the affected areas unsuitable for prairie-chickens, even if many of the typical habitat components used by prairie-chickens remain (USFWS 2010). Research indicates that prairie-chickens exhibit strong avoidance of tall vertical features. Robel 2002, Pitman et al. 2005). Robel (2002) estimated that, for greater prairie-chickens, a single wind turbine may create a habitat avoidance zone that extends as far as one mile. Pitman et al. (2005) found no lesser prairie-chicken nesting or brood rearing within 300 meters of power lines. USFWS (2010) considered the ongoing and large-scale potential for commercial wind power development, particularly in western Kansas, northwestern Oklahoma, and the Texas panhandle, to be a high-level threat to the survival of the species in the near future.

Research by Pitman et al. (2005) also found no nesting or lekking within 0.8 km of a gas line compressor station. Lesser prairie-chickens generally avoided human activity and seldom nested within 0.4 km of inhabited dwellings, and they avoided habitat within a 1.6 km radius of a coal-fired power plant (Pitman et al. 2005). Oil and gas development also are causing loss and degradation of occupied habitat (USFWS 2010).

DROUGHT: Drought may impact lesser prairie-chickens through its effect on seasonal growth of vegetation necessary to provide nesting and roosting cover, food, and opportunity for escape from predators (USFWS 2010). Drought may render small, fragmented populations more vulnerable to extirpation.

GRAZING: Grazing is not necessarily detrimental, but overgrazing reduces residual grass cover, an important component of nesting habitat, and reduces food plant availability (Bent 1932; Cannon and Knopf 1980; Crawford 1980; Davis et al. 1979, cited in Giesen 1998; Giesen 1994a; Riley et al. 1992). In New Mexico, Patten et al. (2006) found that grazing did not have an overall influence on where prairie-chickens occurred within their study areas, but there was evidence that the birds did not nest in portions of the study area subjected to cattle grazing. Rangeland improvement designed to increase grass cover by reducing shrub density using herbicides removes important food sources and nesting cover (Jackson and DeArment 1963, Haukos and Smith 1989).

ALIEN SPECIES: Ring-necked pheasants are known to disrupt the breeding behavior of greater prairie-chickens on leks and lay eggs in greater prairie-chicken nests. Anecdotal reports suggest similar pheasant-lesser prairie chicken interactions (USFWS 1998). More research is needed to understand and quantify impacts of pheasants on lesser prairie-chickens (USFWS 2010).

Additionally, the continued loss and degradation of currently occupied habitat in several areas in the form of heavy grazing by livestock, woody invasion due to fire suppression, oil and gas development, and fragmentation are rendering portions of previously occupied range uninhabitable for the species.

PREDATION: Predation is not known to be resulting in, or contributing to, a decline in any lesser prairie-chicken populations, but it could become important in populations that have declined to small size as a result of the foregoing threats: Confirmed predators of eggs/nests include Chihuahuan raven, coyote, badger, striped skunk, spotted ground squirrel, and bullsnake; predators of chicks and adults include rough-legged hawk,red-tailed hawk, ferruginous hawk, prairie falcon, Cooper's hawk, northern harrier, golden eagle, great horned owl, coyote, and badger (Campbell 1950, Giesen 1998, USFWS 1998).

DISEASE: There is no information that indicates parasites or disease are causing, or contributing to, the decline of any lesser prairie-chicken populations, and there is no basis for concluding that disease or parasite loads are threatening any populations (USFWS 2010).

Short-term Trend Comments: Populations can fluctuate considerably from year to year as natural responses to variable weather and habitat conditions; these fluctuations add to the difficulty of evaluating population trends, particularly short-term trends (USFWS 2009). Thus trend over the past 10 years or three generations (which is 10 years or less) probably is not a good basis for evaluating conservation status.

Long-term Trend: Decline of 70-90%
Long-term Trend Comments: Maximum occupied range, prior to European settlement, has been estimated by state wildlife agencies at approximately 456,087 sq. km; current occupied range recently was estimated at 64,414 sq. km (Playa Lakes Joint Venture 2007; USFWS 2009, 2010). This indicates that the historical occupied range has been reduced by 86 percent.

The overall distribution has sharply declined in all states except Kansas (USFWS 2009, 2010).

Historical population size is not well documented, but this species reportedly was quite common throughout the range in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas in the early twentieth century. By the 1930s, the species had begun to disappear from areas where it had been considered abundant. Abundance appeared to fluctuate somewhat during the 1940s and 1950s (see USFWS 2009), and by the early 1970s the total fall population may have been reduced to about 60,000 birds (Crawford 1980). By 1980, the estimate of the total fall population was approximately 44,000 to 53,000 birds (Crawford 1980).

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Not intrinsically vulnerable

Environmental Specificity: Moderate. Generalist or community with some key requirements scarce.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
Help
Global Range: (20,000-200,000 square km (about 8000-80,000 square miles)) Historical range extended from southeastern Colorado and southwestern Kansas southward through western Oklahoma to southeastern New Mexico and western Texas (Hagen and Giesen 2005; USFWS 2009, 2010). Currently, the species is discontinuously distributed within a small portion of the historical range, including all five of these states. Formerly the species may have ranged north to southwestern Nebraska, but there is no evidence of breeding in that state, and the species' ephemeral occurrence there may have been an artifact of post-settlement habitat changes (AOU 1983, Giesen 1998).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The maps for birds represent the breeding status by state and province. In some jurisdictions, the subnational statuses for common species have not been assessed and the status is shown as not-assessed (SNR). In some jurisdictions, the subnational status refers to the status as a non-breeder; these errors will be corrected in future versions of these maps. A species is not shown in a jurisdiction if it is not known to breed in the jurisdiction or if it occurs only accidentally or casually in the jurisdiction. Thus, the species may occur in a jurisdiction as a seasonal non-breeding resident or as a migratory transient but this will not be indicated on these maps. See other maps on this web site that depict the Western Hemisphere ranges of these species at all seasons of the year.
Endemism: endemic to a single nation

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States CO, KS, NEextirpated, NM, OK, TX

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe, 2002


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CO Baca (08009), Cheyenne (08017), Kiowa (08061), Prowers (08099)
KS Barber (20007), Clark (20025), Comanche (20033), Edwards (20047), Ellis (20051), Finney (20055), Ford (20057), Gove (20063), Grant (20067), Greeley (20071), Hamilton (20075), Hodgeman (20083), Kearny (20093), Kiowa (20097), Lane (20101), Logan (20109), Meade (20119), Morton (20129), Ness (20135), Pawnee (20145), Pratt (20151), Rush (20165), Scott (20171), Sheridan (20179), Stevens (20189), Trego (20195), Wallace (20199), Wichita (20203)
NM Chaves (35005), Curry (35009), De Baca (35011), Eddy (35015), Lea (35025), Quay (35037), Roosevelt (35041)
OK Beaver (40007), Ellis (40045), Harper (40059), Roger Mills (40129), Texas (40139), Woodward (40153)
TX Bailey (48017), Cochran (48079), Deaf Smith (48117), Donley (48129), Gray (48179), Hemphill (48211), Hockley (48219), Lamb (48279), Lipscomb (48295), Ochiltree (48357), Roberts (48393), Terry (48445), Wheeler (48483), Yoakum (48501)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
10 Smoky Hill Headwaters (10260001)+, Upper Smoky Hill (10260003)+, Ladder (10260004)+, Hackberry (10260005)+, Middle Smoky Hill (10260006)+, Big (10260007)+, Upper South Fork Solomon (10260013)+
11 Upper Arkansas-John Martin (11020009)+, Big Sandy (11020011)+, Rush (11020012)+, Two Butte (11020013)+, Middle Arkansas-Lake Mckinney (11030001)+, Whitewoman (11030002)+, Arkansas-Dodge City (11030003)+, Coon-Pickerel (11030004)+, Pawnee (11030005)+, Buckner (11030006)+, Upper Walnut Creek (11030007)+, Lower Walnut Creek (11030008)+, Rattlesnake (11030009)+, North Fork Ninnescah (11030014)+, Upper Cimarron (11040002)+, North Fork Cimarron (11040003)+, Sand Arroyo (11040004)+, Bear (11040005)+, Upper Cimarron-Liberal (11040006)+, Crooked (11040007)+, Upper Cimarron-Bluff (11040008)+, Lower Cimarron-Eagle Chief (11050001)+, Upper Salt Fork Arkansas (11060002)+, Medicine Lodge (11060003)+, Middle Canadian-Spring (11090106)+, Lower Canadian-Deer (11090201)+, Middle Beaver (11100102)+, Lower Beaver (11100201)+, Upper Wolf (11100202)+, Lower Wolf (11100203)+, Middle North Canadian (11100301)+, Tierra Blanca (11120101)+, Palo Duro (11120102)+, Upper Salt Fork Red (11120201)+, Upper North Fork Red (11120301)+, Middle North Fork Red (11120302)+, Washita headwaters (11130301)+
12 Yellow House Draw (12050001)+, Blackwater Draw (12050002)+, Running Water Draw (12050005)+, Lost Draw (12080001)+, Monument-Seminole Draws (12080003)+, Mustang Draw (12080004)+, Sulphur Springs Draw (12080006)+
13 Upper Pecos (13060003)+, Taiban (13060004)+, Arroyo Del Macho (13060005)+*, Upper Pecos-Long Arroyo (13060007)+, Upper Pecos-Black (13060011)+, Landreth-Monument Draws (13070007)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Help
Basic Description: A chunky chicken-like bird (grouse, prairie-chicken).
General Description: Plumage is characterized by a cryptic pattern of alternating brown and buff-colored barring. Males display brilliant yellow supraorbital eyecombs and reddish esophageal air sacs during courtship displays (Copelin 1963, Johnsgard 1983). Males have on the sides of the neck long tufts of feathers (pinnae) that are erected during courtship displays. Body length ranges from 38 to 41 centimeters (15-16 inches) (Johnsgard 1973).
Diagnostic Characteristics: Lesser prairie-chicken is almost identical in appearance to the greater prairie-chicken. The latter is slightly larger, with orange cervical air sacs in males, and slightly darker plumage coloration overall. Breast feathers of lesser prairie-chicken have 4-6 alternating brown and white bars, versus 1-4 alternating brown and white bars in greater prairie-chicken (Short 1967). Downy young of lesser prairie-chicken are slightly paler than greater prairie-chicken, with less brownish underparts (Sutton 1968).
Reproduction Comments: The basic major life cycle stages minimally include breeding and lek attendance, nesting, brood rearing, and nonbreeding.

In spring and fall, adults congregate on leks where males engage in communal courtship displays at sunrise and before sunset (Giesen 1998). In Oklahoma, males have been observed on leks in every month except August and December (Jones 1964a). Dominant (usually older) males establish and defend territories in the central portion of the lek, whereas subordinate (typically younger) males are generally restricted to peripheral territories. The number of males attending a lek varies seasonally and annually, and is influenced by habitat and population density (Giesen 1998). In Colorado, the average number of males per lek was 9.4 (range = 1 - 42); in Texas, it was 13.7 (range = 1 - 43; Copelin 1963, cited in Giesen 1998; Giesen 1998). Females attend leks to copulate with males from late March through May.

Nesting is initiated from mid-April through late May, usually within two weeks of lek attendance, and hatching peaks from late May through mid-June (Bent 1932, Giesen 1998). If the first clutch is destroyed, second nesting attempts are initiated from late May through early June, with hatching extending through early July (Giesen 1998). The nest is a 20-centimeter-wide bowl-shaped depression constructed 8-10 centimeters deep in the substrate and lined with dried grasses, leaves and feathers.

One egg is laid per day and incubation begins when the clutch is complete. The average clutch size for 60 complete clutches is 10.4 eggs (range = 8 - 14; Giesen 1998). Eggs are incubated by hens only for 23-26 days and the young leave the nest within hours of hatching (Giesen 1998, USFWS 1998). Nest success (percent clutches that hatch greater than one egg) averaged 28 percent (range 0 - 67 percent) for ten studies (Giesen 1998). Nesting success is better in wetter years than drier years and among denser, taller grass than sparser, shorter grass (Davis et al. 1979, cited in Giesen 1998; Merchant 1982, cited in Giesen 1998; Riley et al. 1992). Droughts and hot, dry weather during nesting season may negatively impact hatching success (Giesen 1998).

Juveniles are well developed at hatching and develop rapidly. They leave nests with the female within 24 hours of hatching and are capable of short flight within two weeks; broods remain with females for 12-15 weeks (Giesen 1998, Hagen and Giesen 2005).

Females apparently breed at one year of age; although yearling males are physiologically capable of breeding, older males do most of the breeding (Giesen 1998). Maximum life span in the wild is around 5 years (Campbell 1972).

Ecology Comments: This species may form flocks of up to 80 individuals in fall and winter (Copelin 1963, cited by Giesen 1998). Spring density estimates for males range from 0.31-2.24 per square kilometer in Colorado (Giesen 1998, Hoffman 1963), 0.19-11.82 per square kilometer in Oklahoma (Cannon 1980, cited in Giesen 1998; Copelin 1963, cited in Giesen 1998; Davison 1940), 1.74-1.87 per square kilometer in New Mexico (Locke 1992, cited in Giesen 1998), and 1.41-1.98 per square kilometer in Texas (Sell 1979, cited in Giesen 1998). Line transect estimates for all birds in New Mexico ranged from 20-25 per square kilometer in summer to 34-53 per square kilometer in winter (Olawsky and Smith 1991). The average lek density, range wide is 0.1-0.43 per square kilometer (Giesen 1998).

Sex ratio estimates are generally male-biased, which could be due to unknown differences between the sexes in susceptibility to harvest or habitat preferences (Taylor and Guthery 1980b). Sex ratio estimates (males:females) range from 1.0:0.61 - 1.0:0.71 for young netted in coveys from July through September (Davison 1940), 1.0:0.77 for 1718 hunter-killed birds (Snyder 1967 cited in Giesen 1998), 1.0:0.73 for 2447 hunter-killed birds (Campbell 1972), and 1.0:1.0 for 923 hunter-killed birds (Lee 1950). Campbell (1972) estimated a 65 percent annual mortality rate and a five-year maximum life span.

Habitat Type: Terrestrial
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: This species is regarded as nonmigratory; however, there are unconfirmed reports that the Texas portion of the population may have been migratory at one time (Jackson and DeArment 1963).

Home range size varies according to sex, time of year, and reproductive activity. Females typically nest 1.2-3.4 kilometers (range 0.2-13.9, n = 90 nests) from a lek (see Hagen and Giesen 2005). During spring and summer in Colorado, females ranged over 496 hectares whereas males, which stayed closer to leks, ranged over 211 hectares (Giesen 1998). In Texas during winter, males occupied 50-1945 hectares and moved 0.39-1.07 kilometers per day, whereas females used 35-495 hectares and moved 0.27-1.23 kilometers per day (Taylor and Guthery 1980a). In New Mexico, pre-nesting females ranged over an average of 231 hectares and moved an average of 390 meters per day, nesting females used an average of 92 hectares and moved an average of 250 meters per day, females with broods occupied a mean of 119 hectares and moved an average of 280 meters per day, and females without broods used an average of 73 hectares and moved a mean of 220 meters per day (Riley et al. 1994). Males on leks defend territories ranging in size from less than 40 to more than 150 square meters (Hjorth 1970, cited in Giesen 1998).

Males exhibit fidelity to leks between breeding seasons. In New Mexico, 96.5 percent of males captured on leks were recaptured on the same lek the following year (Campbell 1972). In addition, males may occupy the same territory within a lek in subsequent years (Giesen 1998). Site fidelity has also been observed in females. One female, captured in Kansas and released in Colorado, returned nearly 300 kilometers to her original capture site (Giesen 1998). Maximum movements between spring leks and late-fall relocations was 20.8 kilometers for subadults and 3.2 kilometers for adults (Campbell 1970). One juvenile moved 12.8 kilometers from the lek where it was captured 5 days prior (Taylor and Guthery 1980c).

In Oklahoma, the maximum movement between summer brood ranges and display grounds was 4.6 km; half the population moved less than 2.3 km; maximum movement between fall-winter range and display grounds was 8.0 km (n = 32) (Copelin 1963). Females males tend to disperse farther from natal areas than do males (1 km) (Copelin 1963, Pitman 2003).
á

Terrestrial Habitat(s): Grassland/herbaceous
Habitat Comments: Lesser prairie-chickens inhabit mixed grass-dwarf shrub communities that occur on sandy soils; principally the sand sagebrush (Artemisia filifoilia)-bluestem (Andropogon spp.) association in Colorado, Kansas, and Oklahoma, and to a lesser extant, Texas and New Mexico; and the shinnery oak (Quercus havardii)-bluestem association in Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico (Giesen 1998, Hoffman 1963, Jackson and DeArment 1963, Taylor and Guthery 1980 Riley et al. 1992, Fuhlendorf et al. 2002, Johnson et al. 2004, Bell 2005, Patten et al. 2005). Leks typically occur on knolls or ridges with relatively short and/or sparse vegetation (Giesen 1998, Jones 1963, Taylor and Guthery 1980b). Lesser prairie-chicken leks may be on human-created open areas (e.g., oil well pads, roads, reverted cropland, cultivated fields, and areas treated with herbicides; Crawford and Bolen 1976, Taylor 1980) and recently burned areas (Cannon and Knopf 1979).

Nests are often constructed on north- or northeast-facing slopes, presumably for protection from prevailing southwest winds and direct sunlight (Giesen 1998). Nesting sites are in sand sagebrush or shinnery oak grasslands with high canopy cover and moderate vertical and horizontal cover, primarily residual vegetation (Giesen 1998). Females prefer to nest in relatively tall, dense vegetation (Giesen 1994b, Riley et al. 1992, Wisdom 1980 cited in Giesen 1998). Nests often are under sand sagebrush or shinnery oak shrub (Bent 1932; Davis et al. 1979, cited in Giesen 1998; Giesen 1994b; Sell 1979, cited in Giesen 1998) or amid tall bunchgrasses (Andropogon, Aristida, Schizachyrium; Haukos and Smith 1989; Riley 1978, cited in Giesen 1998; Wisdom 1980, cited in Giesen 1998). Height and density of forbs and residual grasses are greater at nest sites than on adjacent rangeland (Davis et al 1979, cited in Giesen 1998; Giesen 1994b; Haukos and Smith 1989; Riley et al. 1992).

Average height of vegetation and grasses at 29 nests in sand sagebrush rangeland in Colorado was 50.7 centimeters and 36.1 centimeters, respectively. Twenty nests (69 percent) were under sand sagebrush or small yucca (Yucca glauca) and nine (31 percent) in bunchgrasses, principally (n = 5) sand dropseed (Sporobolus cryptandrus). Shrub, forb, and grass height at nests was significantly greater than along transects (Giesen 1994b). In shinnery oak rangeland in Oklahoma, vegetation height above one nest ranged from 32-52 centimeters (USFWS 1998). Mean height of vegetation above one nest in sand sagebrush rangeland in Oklahoma was 45 centimeters (USFWS 1998). Average plant height above 13 nests in shinnery oak rangeland of the Texas panhandle was 45.3 centimeters; nine nests (69 percent) were in purple threeawn (Aristida purpurea; Haukos and Smith 1989). Mean height of vegetation above successful nests (n = 10) in shinnery oak rangeland of New Mexico was 66.6 centimeters, whereas mean height of vegetation at unsuccessful nests (n = 26) was 34.9 centimeters (Riley et al. 1992). Four (40 percent) of the successful nests were located in sand bluestem (Andropogon hallii).

Adult Food Habits: Granivore, Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Granivore, Invertivore
Food Comments: Diet includes insects (including insect galls), seeds, acorns, vegetative material (e.g., leaves, buds, flowers, catkins), and cultivated grains (e.g., sorghum; Taylor and Guthery 1980b, Giesen 1998). In New Mexico, crops of adults examined in spring contained 94 percent plant material and 6 percent animal material. Seventy-nine percent of the plant material was green vegetation and 15 percent was shinnery oak acorns. During the summer months, crops contained 55 percent insects (especially grasshoppers [Orthoptera] and treehoppers [Homoptera]), 23 percent green vegetation and 21 percent acorns. The diet of chicks and juveniles was 99-100 percent insects (Davis et al. 1980). Shinnery oak (acorns, leaves, catkins, galls) composed 49 percent of the spring diet, 22.5 percent of the summer diet, 50 percent of the fall diet and 70 percent of the winter diet (Davis et al. 1979, cited in Davis et al. 1980; Davis et al. 1980). In Oklahoma, the proportion (in percent) of animal to plant material in the diet of adults was 7:93 in winter, 19:81 in spring, 67:33 in summer, and 17:83 in fall (Martin et al. 1951). Jones (1963, 1964a) analyzed 1,129 droppings collected throughout the year in Oklahoma and found that major components of the diet included seeds (24.5 percent), green vegetation (33.5 percent), and insects (42 percent). In Oklahoma, the diet of juveniles up to one month old comprised insects (97.7 percent) and plants (2.3 percent; Jones 1963). Lesser prairie-chickens obtain moisture from food and drink water provided for cattle (Crawford and Bolen 1973, Giesen 1998, Jones 1964a).
Adult Phenology: Crepuscular, Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Crepuscular, Diurnal
Phenology Comments: Activity is primarily diurnal and crepuscular and occurs throughout the year.
Colonial Breeder: Y
Length: 41 centimeters
Weight: 784 grams
Economic Attributes
Help
Economic Comments: Formerly this species was subject to market hunting. Currently, legal harvest is allowed only in Kansas, and the harvest there is probably insignificant at the population level (USFWS 2010).
Management Summary
Help
Stewardship Overview: USFWS (2009) recommended the following conservation measures: 1. Reduce or eliminate upland construction of fence lines and utility lines within occupied habitat and for 8 km surrounding all occupied habitat, especially near leks. If fence lines cannot be removed, it is recommended that the top and third wires of lines near active leks be conspicuously marked to minimize collision mortality (Wolfe et al. 2009). 2. Limit or eliminate the federally-funded application of tebuthiuron herbicide in remaining shinnery oak habitats and 2, 4-D herbicide in sand sagebrush habitats. 3. Encourage range wide adherence to the USFWS's Voluntary Interim Guidelines to Avoid and Minimize Wildlife Impacts from Wind Turbines, released in July 2003, (http://www.fws.gov/habitatconservation/wind.pdf). 4. Work cooperatively with energy-related industry to avoid, minimize, and compensate for impacts to Lesser Prairie-Chicken populations and habitats. 5. Work with partners to target re-enrollments and new contracts under CRP and related agricultural conservation programs to benefit LPC. 6. Minimize further fragmentation of remaining Federal lands within current and historic Lesser Prairie-Chicken range by abandoning the use of ineffective timing, noise, and distance stipulations near active or historic leks. Instead, future energy leasing, exploration, and development, or other fragmenting human land uses within essential Lesser Prairie-Chicken habitats should be limited. 7. Establish secure and well-funded financial incentive mechanisms for private landowners to provide light to moderately grazed native rangeland habitats that are suitable for Lesser Prairie-Chicken use but not subject to herbicidal shrub control practices. 8. Encourage increased use of prescribed fire and patch burn grazing concepts to facilitate habitat heterogeneity in Lesser Prairie-Chicken range and decrease encroachment of woody vegetation. Patch burn grazing is a system that utilizes prescribed fire to encourage intensive grazing on a portion of a pasture each year while resting the remainder of the pasture.

See Hagen et al. (2004) for guidelines for managing Lesser Prairie-Chicken and their habitats. See USFWS (2010) for a summary of recent conservation actions.

Restoration Potential: Restoration potential apparently is not good as all attempts to establish new populations have failed (Giesen 1998).

Rodgers and Hoffman (2005) emphasized the importance of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) habitat to the status and survival of lesser prairie-chickens. They determined that the presence of CRP lands that had been planted to native species of grasses facilitated the expansion of lesser prairie-chicken range in Colorado, Kansas, and New Mexico. The range expansion in Kansas resulted in strong population increases there. In Oklahoma and Texas, and some portions of New Mexico, where CRP fields were planted with a monoculture of introduced grasses, lesser prairie-chickens did not demonstrate a range expansion or an increase in population size (Rodgers and Hoffman 2005).

Preserve Selection & Design Considerations: A mixture of tall, dense grass/shrubs and sparse, short vegetation provides optimal habitat.

The specific extent of habitat needed to sustain a viable population is unknown (USFWS 2009), but management units of 20 square kilometers and 32-72 square kilometers have been recommended based on studies of spring-summer and fall-winter habitat use, respectively (Sell 1979, cited in Taylor and Guthery 1980a; Taylor and Guthery 1980a). Most researchers agree that contiguous areas of at least 32 square kilometers in size having at least 63 percent rangeland habitat maintained as good quality shrub/grassland is needed to support populations long-term (Mote et al. 1999). Because lesser prairie-chickens usually nest within three kilometers of a lek, buffer zones and other restrictions on activities should be set up within this distance (Giesen 1998, USFWS 1998). Lesser prairie-chickens typically nest and rear their broods in proximity to a lek other than the one used for mating (Giesen 1998), so a complex of two or more leks is likely required to sustain a viable population (USFWS 2009).

Management Requirements: This species requires a mixed-grass community with a high percentage of forbs and scattered low shrubs (Doerr and Guthery 1980). This community type can be promoted and maintained with proper grazing management and careful use of herbicides or prescribed fire (Mote et al. 1999, Taylor and Guthery 1980b). Judicious use of herbicides can reduce shrub density and increase grass and forb density on overgrazed ranges. However, herbicides should not be applied unless perennial grasses are present, otherwise, grasses of little use to prairie-chickens as forage or otherwise will dominate (Doerr and Guthery 1980). Because of their importance as food sources and cover, no more than 50-70 percent of the shrubs should be eliminated from treated areas (Doerr and Guthery 1980). Herbicide treatment to control shinnery oak might adversely impact nesting lesser prairie-chickens (Johnson et al. 2004). Olawsky and Smith (1991) recommend a mosaic of treated and untreated areas.

Prescribed burns result in increased green forage, native annual forbs, and insect abundance. Burns should be limited to 20-33 percent of the management unit to preserve residual nesting cover (Bidwell et al. 1995, cited in Mote et al. 1999). Cattle exclosures can be used to prevent complete habitat loss or degradation from overgrazing (Taylor and Guthery 1980b). Food plots are not recommended because they are seldom used and do not increase population size (Copelin 1963, cited in Taylor and Guthery 1980b; Giesen 1998). Artificial leks can be created in extensive blocks of homogeneous habitat where natural leks are absent. Such leks should be at least 1.2 kilometers apart and on slightly elevated ground with short, scattered vegetation (Taylor 1980). High quality nesting habitat has an abundance of tall grasses (greater than or equal to 50 centimeters tall; Giesen 1994b; Riley et al. 1992; Wisdom 1980, cited in Giesen 1998). In order to improve or maintain optimum nesting cover, grazing utilization levels should be less than 25-35 percent of the annual growth of forage species (Riley et al. 1992, Riley et al. 1993). Although free-standing water is used, its availability is not critical for survival (Giesen 1998).

Monitoring Requirements: Spring counts of males displaying on leks are used to track population trends (Crawford and Bolen 1975). April and May are the best months to conduct lek counts because breeding activity is at its peak. Counts conducted from dawn to about two hours after daylight on calm, clear days are most accurate (Taylor and Guthery 1980b). Because the number of active leks correlates with the density of displaying males, the number of active leks can be also used as an index of population trends (Cannon and Knopf 1981). Line transects are sometimes used to estimate population density (Olawsky and Smith 1991, Riley et al. 1993).

Management Programs: Populations are managed on federal and state lands in each inhabited state by relevant state or federal wildlife agencies (Mote et al. 1999, USFWS 1998). A conservation plan has been drafted by The Lesser Prairie Chicken Interstate Working Group (Mote et al. 1999).
Monitoring Programs: Populations are monitored in each inhabited state by state wildlife agencies (Mote et al. 1999, USFWS 1998). Because lesser prairie-chickens are encountered so infrequently on North American Breeding Bird Survey routes or Christmas Bird Counts, these surveys are not adequate to detect population changes (Sauer et al. 1994).
Management Research Programs: Management research programs are conducted by state agencies and universities throughout the range. Telemetry studies of habitat use, as well as studies of diseases and genetics have been conducted in Oklahoma and New Mexico by the Sutton Avian Research Center. Telemetry studies and studies of parasites and diseases have been conducted in Kansas.
Management Research Needs: Most occupied habitat occurs on private lands, so much of the future of this species rests in the hands of private landowners. It is imperative to develop a means of implementing management practices beneficial to this species while preserving landowner ability to derive income from the land (Mote et al. 1999).

Research is needed on the following topics: relationship between lek counts and total population size; genetic variability among populations; dispersal ability (particularly in fragmented landscapes); population and metapopulation dynamics; minimum viable population size; minimum habitat patch size; and the effects of various land management practices on survival, productivity, and seasonal habitat preferences (Giesen 1998). In addition, successful transplantation techniques need to be developed and implemented (Taylor and Guthery 1980b), and the possible impact of ring-necked pheasant competition/reproductive interference needs study (USFWS 1998).

Biological Research Needs: Research is needed on the following topics: relationship between lek counts and total population size; genetic variability among populations; dispersal ability (particularly in fragmented landscapes); population and metapopulation dynamics; minimum viable population size; minimum habitat patch size; and the effects of various land management practices on survival, productivity, and seasonal habitat preferences (Giesen 1998). In addition, successful transplantation techniques need to be developed and implemented (Taylor and Guthery 1980b), and the possible impact of ring-necked pheasant competition/reproductive interference needs study (USFWS 1998).
Population/Occurrence Delineation
Help
Group Name: Grouse and Ptarmigan

Use Class: Not applicable
Subtype(s): Lek, Nesting Area, Nesting Season Foraging Area, Nonbreeding Habitat, Year-round Habitat
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of one or more birds in appropriate habitat.
Mapping Guidance: To the extent possible and practicable, occurrences should encompass the annual range of a population. If winter and summer ranges are distinctly separate, map using separate polygons. If they are more than 15 kilometers apart, separate breeding and nonbreeding occurrences should be created.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 15 km
Separation Justification: Unsuitable habitat includes open water as well as other habitats through or over which birds may travel but in which they do not nest or forage much if at all.

Occurrences are difficult to circumscribe because most species are partially migratory (i.e., some individuals migrate small or large distances whereas others are relatively sedentary) (see Schroeder and Braun 1993). Migrations may extend up to 12 kilometers in Blue Grouse (Pelren 1996), up to about 40 km (usually less than 25 km) in Greater Prairie-Chickens in Colorado (Schroeder and Braun 1993), and up to 170 km in Greater Prairie-Chickens in Wisconsin.

Adult male (and probably adult female) Lesser Prairie-Chickens have high fidelity to breeding leks (Giesen 1998), and some leks have persisted more than 30 to 40 years (Copelin 1963, Giesen 1998). Largest individual home ranges recorded are of males in winter; in Texas, these ranged from 331-1945 hectares (n = 4; Taylor and Guthery 1980a). Maximum movements between spring leks and late-fall relocations was 20.8 kilometers for subadults and 3.2 kilometers for adults (Campbell 1970). Combined home ranges of males and females associated with breeding leks ranged from 25.2 to 61.9 square kilometers (minimum convex polygon) in Colorado (n = 4 leks; Giesen 1991).

Female Greater Prairie-Chickens (T. c. attwateri) had winter home ranges as large as 910 hectares (Horkel 1979). Median female home range in late spring was 266 hectares (Schroeder 1991).

Summer home ranges of sharp-tailed grouse range from 13 to 406 hectares (summarized by Connelly 1998). Individuals generally fly less than 5 kilometers to a winter range (Giesen and Connelly 1993), but can fly up to 20 kilometers (Meints 1991). Some ptarmigan (e.g. Rock in northern North America) can be considered migratory.

Greater Sage-Grouse: average nest to lek distance about 3 kilometers (Connelly et al. 2000).

Separation distance is somewhat arbitrary and is less than the extent of known seasonal movements of some species. However, a longer separation distance in many cases likely would yield unreasonably large occurrences or, for some species, might join separate populations as single occurrences. Note that locations separated by a gap exceeding the separation distance should be treated as the same occurrence if there is evidence indicating that such patches encompass the same population (e.g., individuals are known to migrate between the patches).

Date: 26Apr2004
Author: Hammerson, G., and S. Cannings
Population/Occurrence Viability
Help
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
Help
Authors/Contributors
Help
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 15Dec2017
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G., and S. Cannings (2011), Smith-Patten, B. (2017)
Management Information Edition Date: 15Dec2017
Management Information Edition Author: Palis, J., and G. Hammerson (2010), rev. Smith-Patten, B (2017)
Management Information Acknowledgments: The author thanks Kenneth Giesen for his timely review of a draft of the abstract on short notice and for providing a copy of the Lesser Prairie Chicken Conservation Plan. Funding for the preparation of this abstract was provided through the Great Plains Bird Conservation Planning Team, supported by The Nature Conservancy's Wings of the Americas, Ecoregional Conservation, and Great Plains Programs.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 28Sep2010
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Palis, J., G. Hammerson, M. Koenen, and D. W. Mehlman

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
  • American Ornithologists' Union (AOU), Committee on Classification and Nomenclature. 1983. Check-list of North American Birds. Sixth Edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Allen Press, Inc., Lawrence, Kansas.

  • American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1983. Check-list of North American Birds, 6th edition. Allen Press, Inc., Lawrence, Kansas. 877 pp.

  • American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.

  • Andrews, R. R. and R. R. Righter. 1992. Colorado Birds. Denver Museum of Natural History, Denver. 442 pp.

  • Bailey, A. M. and R. J. Niedrach. 1965. Birds of Colorado. Denver Museum of Natural History. 2 vols. 895 pp.

  • Bell, L. A. 2005. Habitat use and growth and development of juvenile lesser prairie-chickens in southeast New Mexico. M.S. Thesis, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma. 55 pp.

  • Bent, A.C. 1932. Life histories of North American gallinaceous birds. U.S. National Museum Bulletin 162. Washington, DC.

  • Bidwell, T. G., C. B. Green, A. D. Peoples, and R. E. Masters. 1995. Prairie Chicken Management in Oklahoma. Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service Circular E-945.

  • Bidwell, T., editor. No date. Ecology and management of the lesser prairie-chhicken in Okalhoma. Okalhoma Cooperative Extension Service, Okalhoma State University.

  • Bouzat, J. L., and K. Johnson. 2004. Genetic structure among closely spaced leks in a peripheral population of lesser prairie-chickens. Molecular Ecology 13:499-505.

  • CDOW 2007. Species profile. http://wildlife.state.co.us/WildlifeSpecies/SpeciesOfConcern/

  • Campbell, H. 1950. Note on the behavior of marsh hawks towards lesser prairie chickens. Journal of Wildlife Management 14:477-478.

  • Campbell, H. 1970. Prairie chicken populations. New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Federal Aid Project W-104-R-11. Santa Fe, NM. 20pp.

  • Campbell, H. 1972. A population study of lesser prairie chickens in New Mexico. Journal of Wildlife Management 36:689-699.

  • Cannon, R. W. 1980. Current Status and Approaches to Monitoring Populations and Status of Lesser Prairie Chickens in Oklahoma. Masters Thesis, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater.

  • Cannon, R. W., and F. L. Knopf. 1979. Lesser prairie chicken responses to range fires at the booming ground. Wildlife Society Bulletin 7:44-46.

  • Cannon, R. W., and F. L. Knopf. 1980. Distribution and Status of the Lesser Prairie Chicken in Oklahoma. Pages 71-74 in P. A. Vohs, Jr. and F. L. Knopf, editors. Proceedings of the Prairie Grouse Symposium, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater.

  • Cannon, R. W., and F. L. Knopf. 1981. Lek numbers as a trend index to prairie grouse populations. Journal of Wildlife Management 45:776-778.

  • Colorado Bird Observatory. 1997. 1996 Reference Guide to the Monitoring and Conservation Status of Colorado's Breeding Birds. Colorado Bird Observatory, Colorado Division of Wildlife, Great Outdoors Colorado Trust Fund, and Partners, March 21, 1997.

  • Colorado Division of Wildlife. 2006. Colorado's Wildlife Action Plan: http://wildlife.state.co.us/WildlifeSpecies/ColoradoWildlifeActionPlan/

  • Colorado Natural Heritage Program. 2007. Biological Conservation Datasystem. Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, CO.

  • Connelly, J. W., M. A. Schroeder, A. R. Sands, and C. E. Braun. 2000. Guidelines to manage sage grouse populations and their habitats. Wildlife Society Bulletin 28:967-985.

  • Copelin, F. F. 1963. The Lesser Prairie Chicken in Oklahoma. Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Department Technical Bulletin 6.

  • Crawford, J. A. 1980. Status, problems, and research needs of the Lesser Prairie Chicken. Pages 1-7 in P. A. Vohs, Jr. and F. L. Knopf, editors. Proceedings of the Prairie Grouse Symposium, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater.

  • Crawford, J. A., and E. G. Bolen. 1973. Spring use of stock ponds by lesser prairie chickens. Wilson Bulletin 85:471-472.

  • Crawford, J. A., and E. G. Bolen. 1975. Spring lek activity of the lesser prairie chicken in west Texas. Auk 92:808-810.

  • Crawford, J. A., and E. G. Bolen. 1976. Effects of lek disturbance on lesser prairie chickens. Southwestern Naturalist 21:238-240.

  • Crawford, J.A. and F.A. Stormer. 1980. A bibliography of thelesser prairie chicken, 1873-1980. USDA Forest Service General Tech Rep RM-80, 8 p. Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Fort Collins.

  • Davis, C. A., T. Z. Riley, R. A. Smith, H. R. Suminski and M. J. Wisdom. 1979. Habitat Evaluation of Lesser Prairie Chickens in Eastern Chaves County, New Mexico. New Mexico Agricultural Experiment Station, Las Cruces.

  • Davis, C. A., T. Z. Riley, R. A. Smith, and M. J. Wisdom. 1980. Spring-summer foods of Lesser Prairie Chickens in New Mexico. Pages 75-80 in P. A. Vohs, Jr. and F. L. Knopf, editors. Proceedings of the Prairie Grouse Symposium, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater.

  • Davis, D. M., R. E. Horton, E. A. Odell, R. D. Rodgers, and H. A. Whitlaw. 2008. Lesser prairie-chicken conservation initiative. Lesser Prairie Chicken Interstate Working Group. Unpublished report. Colorado Division of Wildlife, Fort Collins, CO. 114 pp.

  • Davison, V. E. 1940. An 8-year census of lesser prairie chickens. Journal of Wildlife Management 4:55-62.

  • Doerr, T. B. and F. S. Guthery. 1980. Effects of Shinnery Oak Control on Lesser Prairie Chicken Habitat. Pages 59-63 in P. A. Vohs, Jr., and F. L. Knopf, editors. Proceedings of the Prairie Grouse Symposium, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK.

  • Ehrlich, P. R., D. S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1988. The Birder's Handbook: A Field Guide to the Natural History of North American Birds. Simon and Shuster, Inc., New York. xxx + 785 pp.

  • Ellsworth, D. L., et al. 1994. Mitochondrial-DNA and nuclear-gene differentiation in North American prairie grouse (genus TYMPANUCHUS). Auk 111:661-671.

  • Fuhlendorf, S. D., A.J.W. Woodward, D. M. Leslie, Jr., and J. S. Shackford. 2002. Multi-scale effects of habitat loss and fragmentation on lesser prairie-chicken populations of the US Southern Great Plains. Landscape Ecology 17:617-628.

  • Giesen, K. M. 1991. Population inventory and habitat use by Lesser Prairie-Chickens in southeast Colorado. Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Report W-152-R, Colorado Division of Wildlife.

  • Giesen, K. M. 1994a. Movements and nesting habitat of lesser prairie-chickens in Colorado. Southwestern Naturalist 39:96-98.

  • Giesen, K. M. 1994b. Breeding range and population status of lesser prairie-chickens in Colorado. Prairie Naturalist 26:175-182.

  • Giesen, K.M. 1998. Lesser prairie-chicken (Typanuchus pallidicinctus). In A. Poole and F. Gill, editors. The Birds of North America, No. 364. The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA. 20 pp.

  • Giesen, K.M. 2000. Population status and management of lesser prairie-chicken in Colorado. The Prairie Naturalist 32:137-148.

  • Hagen, C. A., and K. M. Giesen. 2005. Lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus). The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/364.

  • Hagen, C. A. 2003. A demographic analysis of lesser prairie-chicken populations in southwestern Kansas: survival, population viability, and habitat use. Dissertation. Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas.

  • Hagen, C. A., B. E. Jamison, K. M Giesen, and T. Z. Riley. 2004. Guidelines for managing lesser prairie-chicken populations and their habitats. Wildlife Society Bulletin 32(1):69-82.

  • Hagen, C. A., J. C. Pitman, B. K. Sandercock, R. J. Robel, and R. D. Applegate. 2005. Age-specific variation in apparent survival rates of male lesser prairie-chickens. Condor 107:78-86.

  • Hamerstrom, F. N., Jr., and F. Hamerstrom. 1961. Status and problems of North American grouse. Wilson Bulletin 73:284-294.

  • Haukos, D. A., and L. M. Smith. 1989. Lesser prairie chicken nest site selection and vegetation characteristics in tebuthiuron-treated and untreated sand shinnery oak in Texas. Great Basin Nat. 49:624-626.

  • Hjorth, I. 1970. Reproductive behavior in the Tetraonidae with special reference to males. Viltrevy 7:184-596.

  • Hoffman, D. M. 1963. The lesser prairie chicken in Colorado. Journal of Wildlife Management 27:726-732.

  • Horkel, J. D. 1979. Cover and space requirements of Attwater's prairie chicken (TYMPANUCHUS CUPIDO ATTWATERI) in Refugio County, Texas. Ph.D. Thesis. Texas A&M University, College Station. 96 pp.

  • Jackson, A. S. and R. DeArment. 1963. The lesser prairie chicken in the Texas panhandle. Journal of Wildlife Management 27:733-737.

  • Johnsgard, P. A. 1973. Grouse and quails of North America. University of Nebraska, Lincoln. 553 pp.

  • Johnsgard, P.A. 1983b. The grouse of the world. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE. xvi + 413 pp.

  • Johnson, K., B. H. Smith, G. Sadoti, T. B. Neville, and P. Neville. 2004. Habitat use and nest site selection by nesting lesser prairie-chickens in southeastern New Mexico. Southwestern Naturalist 49:334-343.

  • Jones, R. E. 1963. Identification and analysis of lesser and greater prairie chicken habitat. Journal of Wildlife Management 27:757-778.

  • Jones, R. E. 1964a. The specific distinctness of the greater and lesser prairie chickens. Auk 81:65-73.

  • Jones, R. E. 1964b. Habitat used by lesser prairie chickens for feeding related to seasonal behavior of plants in Beaver County, Oklahoma. Southwestern Naturalist 9:111-117.

  • Lee, L. 1950. Kill analysis for the lesser prairie chicken in New Mexico, 1949. Journal of Wildlife Management 14:475-477.

  • Locke, B. A. 1992. Lek Hypothesis and the Location, Dispersion, and Size of Lesser Prairie Chicken Leks. Ph.D. Dissertation, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces.

  • Loeffler, Chuck. 1983. The Status and Management of the Lesser Prairie Chicken in Colorado. Colorado Division of Wildlife, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

  • Martin, A.C., H.S. Zim, and A.L. Nelson. 1951. American wildlife and plants: A guide to wildlife food habits. Dover Publications, Inc., New York, NY. 500 pp.

  • Merchant, S. S. 1982. Habitat-Use, Reproductive Success, and Survival of Female Lesser Prairie Chickens in Two Years of Contrasting Weather. Masters Thesis, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces.

  • Mote, K. D., R. D. Applegate, J. A. Bailey, K. E. Giesen, R. Horton, and J. L. Sheppard, Technical Editors. 1999. Assessment and Conservation Strategy for the Lesser Prairie Chicken (TYMPANUCHUS PALLIDICINCTUS). Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Emporia.

  • Mote, K. D., R.D . Applegate, J. A. Bailey, K. E. Giesen, R. Horton, and J. L. Sheppard. 1998. Assessment and conservation strategy for the lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus). Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Emporia, KS. 51 pp.

  • NDIS 2007. Natural Diversity Information Source (NDIS) website http://ndis.nrel.colostate.edu/

  • National Geographic Society, 1987. Field Guide to the birds of North America, second edition. The National Geographic Society, Washington, D.C.

  • New Mexico Lesser Prairie Chicken and Sand Dune Lizard Working Group. 2005. Collaborative conservation strategies for the lesser prairie-chicken and sand dune lizard in New Mexico - findings and recommendations of the New Mexico lesser prairie-chicken and sand dune lizard Working Group. 179 pp.

  • Olawsky, C. D. and L. M. Smith. 1991. Lesser prairie-chicken densities on tebuthiuron-treated and untreated sand shinnery oak rangelands. Journal of Range Management 44:364-368.

  • Oyler-McCance, S. J., R. W. DeYoung, J. A. Fike, C. A. Hagen, J. A. Johnson, L. C. Larsson, and M. A. Patten. 2016. Rangewide genetic analysis of lesser prairie-chicken reveals population structure, range expansion, and possible introgression. Conservation genetics 17(3):643-660.

  • Patten, M. A, D. H. Wolfe, E. Shochat , and S. K. Sherrod. 2005. Effects of microhabitat and microclimate selection on adult survivorship of the lesser prairie-chicken. Journal of Wildlife Management 69:1270-1278.

  • Pelren, E. C. 1996. Blue grouse winter ecology in northeastern Oregon. Ph.D. Dissertation, Oregon State University, Corvallis.

  • Phillips, J. B. 1990. Lek behaviour in birds: do displaying males reduce nest predation? Animal Behaviour 39:555-565.

  • Pitman, J. C. 2003. Lesser prairie-chicken nest site selection and nest success, juvenile gender determination and growth, and juvenile survival and dispersal in southwestern Kansas. Thesis, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas.

  • Pitman, J. C., C. A. Hagen, R. J. Robel, T. M. Loughlin, and R. D. Applegate. 2005. Location and success of lesser prairie-chicken nests in relation to vegetation and human disturbance. Journal of Wildlife Management 69:1259-1269.

  • Playa Lakes Joint Venture. 29 January 2007. Draft species distribution map for the lesser prairie-chicken.

  • Rakestraw, J. 1995. A closer look: lesser prairie chicken. Birding, June 1995, pp. 209-212.

  • Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2005. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 2.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia.

  • Riley, T. Z. 1978. Nesting and Brood Rearing Habitat of Lesser Prairie Chickens in Southeastern New Mexico. Masters Thesis, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces.

  • Riley, T. Z., C. A. Davis, M. A. Candelaria, and H. R. Suminski. 1994. Lesser prairie-chicken movements and home ranges in New Mexico. Prairie Naturalist 26:183-186.

  • Riley, T. Z., C. A. Davis, M. Ortiz, and M. J. Wisdom. 1992. Vegetative characteristics of successful and unsuccessful nests of lesser prairie chickens. Journal of Wildlife Management 56:383-387.

  • Riley, T. Z., C. A. Davis, and R. A. Smith. 1993. Autumn-winter habitat use of lesser prairie-chickens (TYMPANUCHUS PALLIDICINCTUS, Tetraonidae). Great Basin Nat. 53:409-411.

  • Robb, L.A. and M.A. Schroeder. 2005. Lesser Prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus): a technical conservation assessment. [Online]. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region. Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/projects/scp/assessments/lesserprairiechicken.pdf

  • Robel, R.J. 2002. Expected impacts on greater prairie-chickens of establishing a wind turbine facility near Rosalia, Kansas. Unpublished Report to Zikha Renewable Energy. 31 pp.

  • Rodgers, R. D., and R. W. Hoffman. 2005. Prairie grouse population response to Conservation Reserve Grasslands: an overview. Pages 120-128 in A. W. Allen and M. W. Vandever, editors. The Conservation Reserve Program-Planting for the Future: Procedings of the National Conference, Fort Collins, Colorado, June 6-9, 2004. U. S. Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division, Scientific Investigation Report 2005-5145. 248 pp.

  • Ryke, N., D. Winters, L. McMartin and S. Vest. 1994. Threatened, Endangered and Sensitive Species of the Pike and San Isabel National Forests and Comanche and Cimarron National Grasslands. May 25, 1994.

  • Sauer, J. R., S. Orsillo, and B. G. Peterjohn. 1994. Population Status and Trends of Grouse and Prairie-Chickens From the North American Breeding Bird Survey and Christmas Bird Count. Transactions of the 59th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference 59:439-448. Wildlife Management Institute, Washington, D.C.

  • Schroeder, M. A. 1991. Movement and lek visitation by female greater prairie-chickens in relation to predictions of Bradbury's female preference hypothesis of lek evolution. Auk 108:896-903.

  • Schroeder, M. A., and C. E. Braun. 1993. Partial migration in a population of greater prairie-chickens in northeastern Colorado. Auk 110:21-28.

  • Sell, D. L. 1979. Spring and Summer Movements and Habitat Use by Lesser Prairie Chicken Females in Yoakum County, Texas. Masters Thesis. Texas Tech. University, Lubbock.

  • Short, Jr., L. L. 1967. A review of the genera of grouse (Aves, Tetraoninae). American Museum Novitates 2289:1-39.

  • Snyder, W. A. 1967. Lesser Prairie Chicken. Pages 121-128 in New Mexico Wildlife Management. New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, Santa Fe.

  • Sutton, G. M. 1968. The natal plumage of the lesser prairie chicken. Auk 85:679.

  • THOMPSON,M.C., AND C. ELY.1989. BIRDS IN KANSAS VOLUME ONE.

  • Taylor, M. A. 1980. Lesser prairie chicken use of man-made leks. Southwestern Naturalist 24:706-707.

  • Taylor, M. A., and F. S. Guthery. 1980a. Fall-winter movements, ranges, and habitat use of lesser prairie chickens. Journal of Wildlife Management 44:521-524.

  • Taylor, M. A., and F. S. Guthery. 1980b. Status, Ecology, and Management of the Lesser Prairie Chicken. USDA Forest Service General Technical Report RM-77, 15 p. Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Fort Collins, CO.

  • Taylor, M. A., and F. S. Guthery. 1980c. Dispersal of a lesser prairie chicken (TYMPANUCHUS PALLIDICINCTUS). Southwestern Naturalist 25:124-125.

  • Taylor, Maple A. and Fred S. Guthery. 1980. Status, Ecology, and Management of the Lesser Prairie Chicken. General technical report RM-77, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Ft. Collins.

  • Terres, J. K. 1980. The Audubon Society encyclopedia of North American birds. Alfred A. Knopf, New York.

  • Theobald, D.M., N. Peterson, and G. Wilcox. 2005. Colorado Ownership, Management, and Protection v4 database. Natural Resource Ecology Lab, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO. 30 June 2005. www.nrel.colostate.edu/projects/comap

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1998. 12-month finding for a petition to list the Lesser Prairie-Chicken as threatened and designate critical habitat. Federal Register 63:31400-31406.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1999. Candidate and listing priority assignment forms.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 2009. Lesser prairie-chicken action plan. USFWS Oklahoma Ecological Services Field Office, Tulsa.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 2009. Lesser prairie-chicken species assessment and listing priority assignment form.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 2010. Lesser prairie-chicken species assessment and listing priority assignment form.

  • Van Der Bussche, R. A., S. R. Hoofer, D. A. Wiedenfeld, D. H. Wolfe, and S. K. Sherrod. 2003. Genetic variation within and among fragmented populations of lesser prairie-chickens (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus). Molecular Ecology 12:675-683.

  • Wisdom, M. J. 1980. Nesting Habitat of Lesser Prairie Chickens in Eastern New Mexico. Masters Thesis. University of New Mexico, Las Cruces.

  • Wolfe D. H., M. A. Paten, and S. K. Sherrod. 2009. Reducing grouse collision mortality by marking fences. Ecological Restoration 27:141-143.

  • Wolfe, D. H., M. A. Patten, E. Shochat, C.L. Pruet, and S. K. Sherrod. 2007. Causes and patterns of mortality in lesser prairie-chickens Tympanuchus pallidicinctus and implications for management. Wildlife Biology 13(1):95-104.

Use Guidelines & Citation

Use Guidelines and Citation

The Small Print: Trademark, Copyright, Citation Guidelines, Restrictions on Use, and Information Disclaimer.

Note: All species and ecological community data presented in NatureServe Explorer at http://explorer.natureserve.org were updated to be current with NatureServe's central databases as of March 2019.
Note: This report was printed on

Trademark Notice: "NatureServe", NatureServe Explorer, The NatureServe logo, and all other names of NatureServe programs referenced herein are trademarks of NatureServe. Any other product or company names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

Copyright Notice: Copyright © 2019 NatureServe, 2511 Richmond (Jefferson Davis) Highway, Suite 930, Arlington, VA 22202, U.S.A. All Rights Reserved. Each document delivered from this server or web site may contain other proprietary notices and copyright information relating to that document. The following citation should be used in any published materials which reference the web site.

Citation for data on website including State Distribution, Watershed, and Reptile Range maps:
NatureServe. 2019. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://explorer.natureserve.org. (Accessed:

Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Bird Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE."

Citation for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy-Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International-CABS, World Wildlife Fund-US, and Environment Canada-WILDSPACE."

Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/birdDistributionmapsmetadatav1.pdf.

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/mammalsDistributionmetadatav1.pdf.

Restrictions on Use: Permission to use, copy and distribute documents delivered from this server is hereby granted under the following conditions:
  1. The above copyright notice must appear in all copies;
  2. Any use of the documents available from this server must be for informational purposes only and in no instance for commercial purposes;
  3. Some data may be downloaded to files and altered in format for analytical purposes, however the data should still be referenced using the citation above;
  4. No graphics available from this server can be used, copied or distributed separate from the accompanying text. Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved by NatureServe. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring by implication, estoppel, or otherwise any license or right under any trademark of NatureServe. No trademark owned by NatureServe may be used in advertising or promotion pertaining to the distribution of documents delivered from this server without specific advance permission from NatureServe. Except as expressly provided above, nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring any license or right under any NatureServe copyright.
Information Warranty Disclaimer: All documents and related graphics provided by this server and any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server are provided "as is" without warranty as to the currentness, completeness, or accuracy of any specific data. NatureServe hereby disclaims all warranties and conditions with regard to any documents provided by this server or any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, including but not limited to all implied warranties and conditions of merchantibility, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement. NatureServe makes no representations about the suitability of the information delivered from this server or any other documents that are referenced to or linked to this server. In no event shall NatureServe be liable for any special, indirect, incidental, consequential damages, or for damages of any kind arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information contained in any documents provided by this server or in any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, under any theory of liability used. NatureServe may update or make changes to the documents provided by this server at any time without notice; however, NatureServe makes no commitment to update the information contained herein. Since the data in the central databases are continually being updated, it is advisable to refresh data retrieved at least once a year after its receipt. The data provided is for planning, assessment, and informational purposes. Site specific projects or activities should be reviewed for potential environmental impacts with appropriate regulatory agencies. If ground-disturbing activities are proposed on a site, the appropriate state natural heritage program(s) or conservation data center can be contacted for a site-specific review of the project area (see Visit Local Programs).

Feedback Request: NatureServe encourages users to let us know of any errors or significant omissions that you find in the data through (see Contact Us). Your comments will be very valuable in improving the overall quality of our databases for the benefit of all users.