The Effects of Management Practices on Grassland Birds— Lesser Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus)

Professional Paper 1842-D
By: , and 



The key to Lesser Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) management is maintaining expansive sand shinnery oak (Quercus havardii) or sand sagebrush (Artemisia filifolia) grasslands. Within these grasslands, areas should contain short herbaceous cover for lek sites (that is, an area where male prairie-chickens gather to engage in courtship displays to attract mates); shrubs or tall residual grasses for nesting; and areas with about 25 percent canopy cover of shrubs, forbs, or grasses 25–30 centimeters (cm) tall for brood rearing. Historically, the Lesser Prairie-Chicken was considered a gamebird that was hunted throughout its range. In response to low population levels and considerations related to listing the species as State or Federally threatened, recreational hunting seasons currently are closed throughout the species’ range. This account does not address harvest or its effects on populations but instead focuses on the effects of habitat management. Lesser Prairie-Chickens have been reported to use habitats with less than or equal to (≤) 600 cm average vegetation height (including shrubs), ≤70 cm visual obstruction reading, 4–78 percent grass cover, ≤30 percent forb cover, ≤66 percent shrub cover, 3–61 percent bare ground, 2–58 percent litter cover, and ≤3 cm litter depth.

Suggested Citation

Jamison, B.E., Igl, L.D., Shaffer, J.A., Johnson, D.H., Goldade, C.M., and Euliss, B.R., 2020, The effects of management practices on grassland birds—Lesser Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus), chap. D of Johnson, D.H., Igl, L.D., Shaffer, J.A., and DeLong, J.P., eds., The effects of management practices on grassland birds: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1842, 36 p.,

ISSN: 2330-7102 (online)

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Capsule Statement
  • Breeding Range
  • Suitable Habitat
  • Area Requirements and Landscape Associations
  • Brood Parasitism by Cowbirds and Other Species
  • Breeding-Season Phenology and Site Fidelity
  • Species’ Response to Management
  • Management Recommendations from the Literature
  • References
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title The effects of management practices on grassland birds—Lesser Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus)
Series title Professional Paper
Series number 1842
Chapter D
DOI 10.3133/pp1842D
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Description v, 36 p.
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details