The lesser prairie-chicken is the smaller of the two prairie-chicken species that live in the Southern Great Plains. The other, larger, one is the greater prairie-chicken. Both are members of the grouse family.
The lesser prairie-chicken’s scientific name is Tympanuchus pallidicinctus. This name reveals a lot about the bird itself: Tympanuchus (tim-pa-new-kus) combines the Greek word tympanon, which means drum, with nucha, the Latin word for neck. Together, they refer to the red air sacks that males inflate during courting and use to make their distinctive booming sound. Pallidicinctus (pal-lidi-cinctus)combines the Latin word pallid, which means pale, with the Latin word cinctus, which means banded. Thus, pallidicinctus refers the bird’s plumage, which is paler than that of the greater prairie-chicken.
Prairie-chickens obtain the water they need from the food they eat. They don’t need surface water, although they will drink water if they find it.
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