Male greater prairie-chickenAdd to Cart Add to Lightbox Download
A male greater prairie-chicken struts on a lek in Mitchell County, Kansas.
The greater prairie-chicken or pinnated grouse (Tympanuchus cupido) is known for its mating ritual by males called booming. In the spring, males gather on leks, also known as booming grounds, in which they defend small areas on the lek to perform their mating displays for visiting females. This display includes extending their orange eye combs, lowering the head, raising two tufts of feathers on the neck, and pointing the tail slightly forward while stamping their feet rapidly. They also expand their bright reddish-orange air sac to produce a booming-like sound that can be heard up to a mile away. In addition, males will vigorously defend their territory on the lek by chasing, leaping in the air, and dramatic fighting.
Greater prairie-chickens are threatened by climate changes (drought or too much rain) and habitat loss. In particular, habitat loss caused by wind energy development. Prairie-chickens need large expanses of open grassland without tall objects (like wind turbines or power lines and power poles) that provide a raptor to perch on.
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- © John L. Dengler
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