A Field Guide to the Prairie


Can't see the prairie chicken? Click here.
Greater Prairie Chicken
Tympanuchus cupido
Size: 40-46 cm (16-18 in.)
Habitat/Range: Tallgrass prairie
Eating Habits: Greater prairie chickens eat insects like grasshoppers, ants, and leafhoppers.

Inflated orange sacThe greater prairie-chicken is a medium-sized grouse with barred plumage; it has a short rounded tail, feathered toes and narrow elongated feathers that cover inflatable orange sacs on both sides of the neck; these narrow elongated feathers are poorly developed on the females. Males fill orange sacs and raise side feathers into "horns" during courtship displays.

Listen to courting prairie chickens!
(Sound clip courtesy Lang Elliot/NatureSound Studio)

On the Prairie Field Guide Index

College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences
© 1999-2011 by the Regents of the University of Minnesota