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A male sharp tailed grouse displaying on a lek for a female sharp tail

Sharp-tailed Grouse (Tympanuchus phasianellus)

  • Found in the Intermountain West, as far north as Alaska, as far east as Michigan throughout the Northern Great Plains from Nebraska through the central Canadian provinces.

  • Columbian Sharp-tailed grouse subspecies found in Utah

  • Tail feathers come to a point, giving them their name

  • Males attend leks and stomp or “dance” their feet rapidly to attract females during the breeding season

  • Grasslands and shrub-steppe are their primary habitat

A male greater prairie chicken displaying on a lek

Greater Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus cupido pinnatus)

  • Originally found throughout the tall grass prairies of the Midwest, they expanded westward and northward following European settlement

  • Now only found in a few states from Minnesota and North Dakota south to Oklahoma

  • Males make a booming sound when trying to attract females during the breeding period

Two male lesser prairie chickens displaying on a lek
a male Attwater prairie chicken displaying on a lek

Lesser Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus)

  • Historically found in the southern Great Plains, now mostly found in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico

  • Smaller and thinner barring than the Greater prairie-chicken

  • Habitat occurs in the mixed-grass prairies, CRP grasslands in the shortgrass prairie, sand sagebrush, and shinnery oak

  • Hybridizes with greater prairie-chicken, referred to as guessers

Attwater's Prairie Chicken (Tympanuchus cupido attwateri)

  • Historically found in the coastal grasslands of Texas and Louisiana, now only found in Texas on the Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge and nearby private lands

  • The population currently relies on a captive breeding program

  • Listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act

a black and white imagine of a now extinct heath hen

Heath Hen (Tympanuchus cupido cupido)

  • Extinct in 1932, due to habitat loss and associated landuse changes

  • Natural habitat was scrubby heathland barrens along the Atlantic coast, from Maine south to the Carolinas

  • Last known population and individual was on Martha’s Vineyard

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