The Lesser Prairie-Chicken is restricted to five states of the southern Great Plains (Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas). It is a year-round resident of grasslands characterized by a mix of shrubs and grass vegetation in that region. Its distribution has contracted by more than 78% since the 1960s.
During the breeding season, males will display in leks to attract and mate with females. Lekking grounds are characterized by short and sparse vegetation. The species has been documented to use human-disturbed areas, such as roads and oil pads, as a response to a decrease in traditional and natural lekking grounds. Females usually nest close to lekking grounds (< 3 km).
The primary cause for the species decline is loss and fragmentation of sand sagebrush and shinnery oak rangelands, mostly through agriculture, livestock management practices and development projects such as power lines. Volunteer conservation actions undertaken by private land owners have proven efficient in conserving and restoring the Lesser Prairie-Chicken’s habitat.
Primary Habitats:Breeding: Temperate grasslands
Wintering: Temperate grasslands
Breeding: Agricultural Conversion, Changing Rangeland Conditions, Energy/Resource Extraction, Climate Change
Wintering: Agricultural Conversion, Changing Rangeland Conditions, Energy/Resource Extraction, Climate Change
Population Loss Since 1970: > 50%
Urgency/Half Life: N/A
Global Conservation Status: IUCN 2019-1 – Vulnerable
U.S. Conservation Status: Under review
Canadian Conservation Status: N/A
Birds of Conservation Concern: USFWS – Bird of Conservation Concern
|Region||Area Importance||Long-term Population Change||Half Life|
|Playa Lakes Joint Venture||100%||***||***|
*** indicates insufficient or unreliable data to calculate a regional long-term change or half-life estimate.
Participate to the Lesser Prairie-chicken Initiative:
- Conservation planning
- Adopt sustainable grazing practice
- Drought management
- Prescribed fires encourage healthy habitat for the Lesser Prairie-chicken
- Remove invasive woody plants
Take part in the Working Lands for Wildlife program
Species Conservation Plans:
Key Species References:
Peer Reviewed Papers:
Hagen et al. 2002. Guidelines for Managing Lesser Prairie-Chicken Populations and Their Habitats.