Attwater's Prairie Chicken
Ideal Attwater's prairie chicken habitat will be found on coastal prairie that include grasses such as little bluestem, big bluestem, Indiangrass, and switchgrass.
The birds require both tall and short grasses in their habitat. They gather to choose a mate in an area of bare ground or short grass, where the males can be seen easily by the females. This is called a "booming ground" or "lek." The males dance and make a noise (like someone blowing into the top of a bottle) to attract the females.
Very dense stands of grass are generally avoided, but are used for shade during the hot and humid summer months, and for protection against inclement weather and predators. Dense grasses are critical though during nest seasons since that is where the hens build their nests.
Habitat is degraded by agriculture, urbanization, and encroachment of woody species. A significant encroaching species in recent years has been Chinese Tallow, which has turned many acres of prairie into tallow forests.
Wildlife Diversity Program
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744
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