OFiLE Greater Prairie Chicken

A bird known for its courtship rituals, the male performs one of the most intriguing mating displays to attract a female hen.

Male

Male

Breeding Season

The feathered foot of the greater prairie chicken has toothlike projections of skin that allows it to walk in the snow.

The female lacks both the yellow comb over the eyes and the orange esophageal air sacs of the male. She can also be identified by her shorter pinnae and barred crown and tail feathers.

The feathered foot of the greater prairie chicken has toothlike projections of skin that allows it to walk in the snow.

The female lacks both the yellow comb over the eyes and the orange esophageal air sacs of the male. She can also be identified by her shorter pinnae and barred crown and tail feathers.

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creature comparisons

The greater prairie chicken is easily confused with the sharp-tailed grouse (Tympanuchus phasianellus). Similar in size and shape, the sharp-tailed grouse also has an inconspicuous comb over its eyes. Pinkish to pale-violet airsacs on the neck expand during display, though not to the degree found in the greater prairie chicken.The sharp-tailed grouse can be recognized by its long, narrowly pointed tail compared to the short, rounded tail of the greater prairie chicken.The sharp-tailed grouse can also be found in parts of Canada all the way down to Utah.

creature comparisons

Attwater Prairie Chicken Eggs

Sharp-tailed grouse

ViTAL STATiSTiCS

weight

Male 2-3 lbs.;

female 1-2 lbs.

Length

16-19''

Wingspan

22''

Sexual

1 year

Maturity

Breeding

March-May

Season

Number

11-12

of Eggs

Incubation

23-25 days

period

Fledging

8-10 weeks

Period

Breeding

1 year

Intervals

Typical

Insects, buds,

Diet

prairie grass,

seeds, leaves

and grains

Lifespan

2-3 years

Sharp-tailed grouse

'RELATED SPECiES

! • The prairie chicken belongs to the order Galliformes, which includes quail, grouse, pheasants and turkeys. Four subspecies have been recognized: the eastern heath hen (Tympanuchus cupido cupido), extinct since 1932; the endangered Attwater's prairie chicken (T.c. attwateri) on the Texas Gulf coast; the lesser prairie chicken (T.c. pallidicinctus) in the west; and the greater prairie chicken (T.c. pinnatus).

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