|wingspan min.:||63||cm||wingspan max.:||70||cm|
|size min.:||38||cm||size max.:||41||cm|
|incubation min.:||22||days||incubation max.:||25||days|
|fledging min.:||1||days||fledging max.:||2||days|
Found in sandy short-grass prairie regions with scattered shrubs such as sand sage. Often found around stands of low, scrubby oaks (called “shin oak”). Regularly comes to agricultural fields to feed on waste grain, but disappears from areas where too muc
h of native prairie is taken over by farmland.
gobbling sounds; may leap in the air with loud cackles. Female visits booming ground, mates with one of the males.
Nest: Site is on ground, usually under shrub or grass clump. Nest (built by female) is shallow depression lined with a few bits of grass, weeds.
Eggs: Usually 11-13. Whitish to pale buff, finely speckled with brown and olive. Incubation is by female only, 22-24 days.
Young: Downy young leave nest shortly after hatching. Female tends young, but young feed themselves. Young can make short flights at age of 1-2 weeks, but not full-grown for several more weeks.
Diet varies with season. Eats seeds and leaves of a wide variety of plants, including oak leaves and acorns. May eat much waste grain around agricultural fields in fall and winter. Eats many insects, including grasshoppers and beetles, especially in summ
er. Also eats some flowers, twigs, oak galls.
Behavior: Forages mostly on ground, sometimes above ground in oaks. May move several miles every day from roosting areas to good feeding sites.
Croplands have expanded since the late 19th century and complete conversion is now the principal threat; areas with more than 37% cultivated land are probably unsustainable. Intensive grazing reduces food and cover, and herbicides reduce shrub cover and acorn production. Market hunting greatly reduced populations in the early 20th century. Numbers declined more severely in the dust bowl of the late 1930s, and significantly with droughts in the 1950s and early 1990s. Today, recreational hunting is limited to Kansas and Texas and the conservative seasons produce an annual harvest of fewer than 1,000 birds. In Oklahoma 39.5% of the prairie-chicken mortality recorded was due to fence collisions, while in New Mexico, this figure was 26.5 percent. The addition of tall structures (natural and manmade) to the prairie can reduce reproductive success.