Booth Museum Bird of the Month, September 2019: Tympanuchus cupido

For September, the Booth focus on the Greater prairie chicken, Tympanuchus cupido

Conservation status: vulnerable

The greater prairie chicken is actually a grouse. It is also known as a boomer, due to the sound made by the males during the mating ritual. Males have bright yellow throat pouches which expand when calling and form part of an impressive display.

They are found mainly in the central states of the US but are extinct in their former range in Canada. They eat mainly seeds and fruit and will also eat insects and leaves. Greater prairie chickens prefer tall grasses and natural habitats, rather than agricultural land, this habitat loss has led to their decline. The species has also declined due to hunting but conservation efforts are attempting to protect populations.

Tympanuchus cupido, Greater prairie chicken
Tympanuchus cupido, Greater prairie chicken
Tympanuchus cupido, Greater prairie chicken

Kerrie Curzon, Collections Assistant and Lee Ismail, Curator of Natural Sciences

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