Scientific Name: Tympanuchus cupido
Taxonomy Group: Birds
Range: Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario
Last COSEWIC Assessment: November 2009
Last COSEWIC Designation: Extirpated
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Extirpated
Image of Greater Prairie-Chicken
The Greater Prairie–Chicken is a medium–sized grouse closely related to the Sharp–tailed Grouse. The Greater Prairie–Chicken is slightly larger than the Sharp–tailed Grouse and differs from the latter by barred underparts, rounded tail, presence of elongated dark neck feathers, and golden neck sacs in males. (Updated 2017/05/24)
Distribution and Population
The Greater Prairie–Chicken formerly occurred in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario, but was extirpated from most of its Canadian range by the mid–20th century. Disjunct populations of this species still occur in the United States (North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin, south to Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri, west to Colorado and east to Wisconsin and Illinois). (Updated 2017/05/24)
The Greater Prairie–Chicken was originally common in native prairie. In the United States, its habitat is now composed of remnant prairie, often mixed with cropland, in the tall–grass prairie and the mixed–grass prairie biomes where land–use changes have supplemented food and cover. This species is highly area–sensitive, and is consistently absent from small fragments of otherwise suitable habitat. At least 5000–6000 ha of suitable habitat are required to support a minimum viable population. The primary cause of habitat loss for the Greater Prairie–Chicken in Canada was the conversion of native prairie for crop cultivation and pasture. (Updated 2017/05/24)
In early spring, males congregate on relatively small display sites or leks, and actively defend territories from other males. Females attend leks and usually mate with the dominant male, and then disperse to nesting sites. Nests are built on the ground under cover of grass, and the clutch size is on average 11–12 eggs. Incubation lasts 23–25 days. The young are precocious, and leave the nest shortly after hatching. A portion of the population is resident while others move 12–170 km between breeding and wintering areas during October–November. The species possesses high annual mortality. (Updated 2017/05/24)
Reasons for extirpation
Threats to the Greater Prairie–Chicken include habitat fragmentation, resulting in population isolation and loss of genetic variability, competition and hybridization with Sharp–tailed Grouse, nest parasitism by exotic Ring–necked Pheasants, and predation. The main limiting factor for the recovery of the Greater Prairie–Chicken in Canada appears to be a shortage of extensive, lightly grazed blocks of grassland. (Updated 2017/05/24)
Federal ProtectionThe Greater Prairie-Chicken is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.
Provincial and Territorial Protection
Status of Recovery Planning
Recovery Strategies :
Name National Recovery Strategy for Greater Prairie Chicken (Tympanuchus cupido)
Status Approvals process initiated
PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.
8 record(s) found.
- COSEWIC Status Reports (2 record(s) found.)
- COSEWIC Assessments (2 record(s) found.)
- Response Statements (1 record(s) found.)
- COSEWIC Annual Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Consultation Documents (1 record(s) found.)
- Recovery Document Posting Plans (1 record(s) found.)
COSEWIC Status Reports
COSEWIC Annual Reports
COSEWIC Annual Report - 2010 (2010)Under Canada’s Species At Risk Act (SARA), the foremost function of COSEWIC is to “assess the status of each wildlife species considered by COSEWIC to be at risk and, as part of the assessment, identify existing and potential threats to the species”. During the past year, COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings and reviewed the status of 79 wildlife species (species, subspecies, populations). During the meeting of November 2009, COSEWIC assessed or reviewed the classification of the status of 28 wildlife species. COSEWIC assessed or reviewed the classification of an additional 51 wildlife species (species, subspecies and populations) during their April 2010 meeting. For species already found on Schedule 1 of SARA, the classification of 32 species was reviewed by COSEWIC and the status of the wildlife species was confirmed to be in the same category (extirpated - no longer found in the wild in Canada but occurring elsewhere, endangered, threatened or of special concern). The wildlife species assessment results for the 2009-2010 reporting period include the following: Extirpated: 6 Endangered: 39 Threatened: 16 Special Concern: 17 Data Deficient: 1 This report transmits to the Minister the status of 46 species newly classified as extirpated, endangered, threatened or of special concern, fulfilling COSEWIC’s obligations under SARA Section 24 and 25. A full detailed summary of the assessment for each species and the reason for the designation can be found in Appendix I of the attached report. Since its inception, COSEWIC has assessed 602 wildlife species in various risk categories, including 262 Endangered, 151 Threatened, 166 Special Concern and 23 Extirpated. In addition, 13 wildlife species have been assessed as Extinct. Also, to date, 46 wildlife species have been identified by COSEWIC as Data Deficient and 166 wildlife species were assessed as Not at Risk. This year has been a particularly productive year for COSEWIC’s Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge (ATK) Subcommittee. In April 2010 COSEWIC approved the Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Process and Protocol Guidelines, providing clear and agreed principles for the gathering of Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge to carry out COSEWIC functions as required under Section 15(2) of SARA (See Appendix III of the attached report). We are grateful for the rich and enthusiastic contribution made by community elders and experts in helping the ATK Subcommittee prepare the ATK protocols.
Recovery Document Posting Plans
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