Lesser prairie chicken
|Lesser prairie chicken|
|A Lesser Prairie Chicken in New Mexico|
Tympanuchus cupido pallidicinctus
The lesser prairie chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus), a species in the grouse family, is slightly smaller and paler than its near relative the Greater Prairie Chicken. About half of its current population lives in western Kansas, with the other half in the sandhills and prairies of western Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle including the Llano Estacado, eastern New Mexico, and southeastern Colorado.
Like its larger relative, it is known for its lekking behavior.
Considered "vulnerable" by the IUCN due to its restricted and patchy range, it is vulnerable to habitat destruction. There is evidence suggesting that global warming may have a particularly detrimental influence by greatly reducing the size of the sagebrush ecosystem. Subfossil remains are known, e.g., from Rocky Arroyo in the Guadalupe Mountains, outside the species' current range but where more habitat existed in the less humid conditions in the outgoing last ice age. Range contraction apparently took place no later than about 8000 BC.
The United States Department of the Interior has proposed creating a Lesser Prairie Chicken Preserve as a National Monument, but it remains controversial, and President Barack Obama has not taken action on the proposal under the Antiquities Act of 1906 as of February 2012. On March 27th 2014, the Lesser Prairie Chicken was listed as threatened (T) under the Endangered Species Act.
In popular culture
The bird was featured in an episode of the TV series Dallas titled Playing Chicken, which aired on March 10, 2014. Bobby Ewing reminds John Ross Ewing that drilling for oil on Southfork would threaten the bird's natural habitat.
- BirdLife International (2012). "Tympanuchus pallidicinctus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- BirdLife International (2004). Tympanuchus pallidicinctus. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 31 May 2008.
- Youth, Howard (2007). "Lekkin’ Grouse on the Prairie". Zoogoer March/April 2007. National Zoo. Retrieved 2008-05-31.
- Kirk Johnson, "In the West, 'Monument' is a Fighting Word," New York Times, February 20, 2012, page A8. | url = http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/20/us/politics/20utah.html | accessdate =2012-08-15
- "U.S. lists lesser prairie chicken as threatened, energy groups wary". Reuters: Environment. Reuters. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tympanuchus pallidicinctus.|
- BirdLife Species Factsheet
- Audubon Watchlist - Lesser Prairie Chicken
- Lesser Prairie-Chicken videos on the Internet Bird Collection
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