Greater Prairie Chicken

(Tympanuchus cupido)

Other Names: Prairie Grouse, Pinnated Grouse

Range/Subspecies: The now extinct Heath Hen, Tympanuchus cupido cupido , was once found along the Atlantic coastal plains from New Hampshire to Virginia, the last report was on Martha's Vineyard Island in the 1930s; the endangered Attwater's Prairie Chicken T. c. attwateri was once found throughout the coastal plains of Texas and Louisana, but is now located in a few protected areas in Texas; the Greater Prairie Chicken T. c. pinnatus is found in a highly fragmented range in the north-central US; re-introduction attempts have been made on protected, restored lands in states where the birds were present before habiat loss.

Habitat: The last remaining fragmented stands of tall-grass prairie.

Status in Wild: The eastern race is now extinct and the southern race is very close. The majority of the habitat for the central race has been lost to agriculture and other development. Only a few states still harbor enough Prairie Chicken to allow for harvest and many states list as a protected species.

Avicultural Data

Avicultural Notes: Like most grouse, this species requires special requirements and is not a common aviary bird. It is highly recommended that you speak with an experienced keeper of grouse before attempting to keep this species. Not a bird for a beginner to galliforme aviculture.

If you would like to add your personal experience with the Greater Prairie Chicken in aviculture, please contact Dan Cowell.


Click on thumbnails for larger views.

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Photo Credits
(l to r): 1-3, Dan Synder; 4-6, Scott Vowers.

Bibliography and Further Reading


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