Tag Archives: lek

Prairie Dancers

 

Male lesser prairie-chickens, members of the grouse family, perform a unique mating dance each spring. They gather in groups year after year on the same spots called leks, to attract hens by stomping their feet rapidly and inflating and deflating air sacs on the sides of their necks. This produces a sound called booming which can carry for a considerable distance on the open prairie and accounts for the alternate name, “booming ground” for the lek.

These images made on April 30, 2013, shortly after sunrise.
These images were made on April 30, 2013, shortly after sunrise.
The lesser prairie chicken is slightly smaller than the greater prairie chicken and has red air sacs instead of orange as on the greater.
The lesser prairie-chicken is slightly smaller than the greater prairie-chicken and has reddish air sacs instead of orange as on the greater.
The pinnate feathers are held erect when the air sacs are fully inflated.
The “horn” feathers are held erect and the air sacs are fully inflated.
Pairs of males often face each other with skirmishes often resulting.
Pairs of males often face each other with skirmishes sometimes resulting.
One of the opposing males will often jump up and descend on the other with claws extended.
One of the opposing males will often jump up and descend on the other with claws extended.
The lesser prairie chicken inhabits short-grass prairie areas in only five states.
The lesser prairie-chicken inhabits short-grass prairie areas of only five states: Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.
A clump of sage-brush is used to get a better view of other males and be more visible to any hens in the area.
A clump of sage-brush is used to get a better view of other males and be more visible to any hens in the area.
All of the males courtship displays were in vain this day as most if not all of the hens in the area are already on their nests incubating eggs.
All of the males’ courtship displays were in vain this day as most, if not all of the hens in the area are already on their nests incubating eggs.
Lesser prairie chicken populations have declined to precariously low numbers and they are now being considered for listing as threatened or endangered.
Lesser prairie-chicken populations have declined to precariously low numbers and they are now being considered for listing as threatened or endangered.
These photos were made on a lek near Glazier, in the Texas panhandle.
These photos were made on a lek near Glazier, in the Texas panhandle.
Many thanks go to Dick Wilberforce for making these images possible by providing access to this lek.
Many thanks go to Dick Wilberforce for making these images possible by providing access to this lek.

All images on this site are copyrighted © by Larry D. Brown and may not be used in any manner without permission.