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Lesser Prairie-chicken
Background Information
 

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BACKGROUND:


WHAT IS A LESSER PRAIRIE-CHICKEN AND WHY IS U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE INTERESTED IN THE CHICKEN?

The lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) is a species of prairie grouse that occupies a five-state range including portions of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado. The species is state listed as threatened in Colorado, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) identified the species as a candidate for Federal listing in 1998.

The lesser prairie-chicken is commonly recognized for its feathered feet and stout build. Plumage of the lesser prairie-chicken is characterized by a cryptic pattern of alternating brown and buff-colored barring. Males display brilliant yellow-orange eyecombs and reddish-purple air sacs during courtship displays.

Lesser prairie-chicken populations need large tracts of relatively intact native grasslands and prairies to thrive. Threats to the lesser prairie-chicken include habitat loss, modification, degradation, and fragmentation within its range.

To watch a Texas Parks and Wildlife video of the lesser prairie-chicken, their habitat, threats to them, and mating ritual visit the Audubon web site at: http://policy.audubon.org/videos/saving-lesser-prairie-chicken-texas-park-and-wildlife.

For more information on the lesser prairie-chicken visit: USFWS ECOS Species Prifile

WHAT ACTIONS IS THE U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE UNDERTAKING RELATED TO THE LESSER PRAIRIE-CHICKEN?

Over the next year, the Service will look at the status of the lesser prairie-chicken, threats to the species and conservation efforts and develop a listing proposal which will be published in the Federal Register no later than September 2012. The Service will use the best available science to develop the proposal. A determination of whether to list the species as threatened or endangered will depend on the full assessment of the status of the lesser prairie-chicken.

Initiation of the listing proposal process for the lesser prairie-chicken is a part of the terms of a multi-year listing work plan approved by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on September 9, 2011. This work plan, developed through a settlement agreement with WildEarth Guardians and a separate, smaller settlement agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity, will enable the agency to systematically, over a period of six years, review and address the needs of more than 250 species now on the candidate list, to determine if they require ESA protection. A list of these species is available at http://www.fws.gov/endangered/improving_ESA/listing_workplan.html.

 
Last updated: April 25, 2016