Greater Prairie-Chicken

Tympanuchus cupido




Partridges, Grouse, Turkeys, Old World Quail (Phasianidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Olive with dark brown spots

Number of Eggs:

7 - 17

Incubation Days:

23 - 24

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

On ground.

Nest Material:

Lined with grass and feathers., Lined with leaves.


Most do not migrate



Greater Prairie-Chicken: Medium-sized, stocky grouse, strongly barred with brown and buff (or white) and with yellow-orange eye combs. Orange air sacs on both sides of the neck are inflated during courtship display; long feathers on back of neck are also raised during displays. Tail is short, rounded, and dark brown, legs are feathered down to the toes, and nostrils are hidden by feathers. Female is similar to the male, but has smaller, colorless air sacs, shorter neck feathers, and the tail is barred.

Range and Habitat

Greater Prairie-Chicken: Nearly extinct, this species was almost gone by the end of 1930s. Occurs in scattered areas in the Midwestern U.S.; land is being acquired for managed habitats to save the bird from extinction. Prefers open sweeps of permanent tallgrass and a minimum of brush and trees. Needs grass of 10 to 18 inches in height for roosting and nesting.

Breeding and Nesting

Greater Prairie-Chicken: Seven to seventeen olive eggs spotted with dark brown are laid in a bowl-shaped ground depression lined with grass, dead leaves, and feathers. Incubation ranges from 23 to 24 days and is carried out by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Greater Prairie-Chicken: Feeds on leaves, seeds, buds, cultivated grains, fruits, and insects.


Greater Prairie-Chicken: During courtship male produces booming sound "whoo-doo-dooooohh, zoooo...wooooo...youoo."

Similar Species

Greater Prairie-Chicken: Lesser Prairie-Chicken has pink neck patch, generally paler plumage, and more finely barred flanks.

Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X