Greater Prairie-Chicke: Medium grouse, barred with brown and buff (or white). Yellow-orange eye combs. Orange air sacs on both sides of the neck inflate during courtship display; long feathers on back of neck also raised during displays. Short, dark brown tail, legs are feathered to the toes.
Range and Habitat
Greater Prairie-Chicken: Nearly extinct this species was almost gone by the end of 1930sOccurs in scattered areas of southern Canada and in the midwestern U.S.; land is being acquired for managed habitats to save the bird from extinction. Prefers open sweeps of permanent tallgrass and a minimum of brush and trees. Needs grass of 10 to 18 inches in height for roosting and nesting.
One of the most famous aspects of the Greater Prairie Chicken is the mating ritual called booming.
It was found in a radio telemetry study conducted by Kansas State University that "most prairie chicken hens avoided nesting or rearing their broods within a quarter-mile of power lines and within a third-mile of improved roads."
It is thought that their current population is about 459,000 individuals.
A group of prairie chickens are known collectively as a "little house" and a "pack" of prairie chickens.
The Greater Prairie-Chicken is a large member of the grouse family found in North America. This species is currently extremely rare due to habitat loss throughout its breeding range. These birds are permanent residents, and do not migrate in winter months. Its natural habitat includes undisturbed prairies, especially those of tall grass. With increased amounts of agricultural land, numbers of the Greater Prairie-Chicken decrease significantly. Diets for the species consist of seeds, fruit, insects and green vegetation. Current populations are estimated at only 459,000, and the current conservation rating for the Greater Prairie-Chicken is Vulnerable.