Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Texas
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Texas Project

Assessing the impact of avian predators as a limiting factor of lesser prairie-chickens

September 2007 - December 2009


Participating Agencies

While avoidance of anthropogenic vertical structures by lesser prairie-chickens (Tympanuchus pallidicintus, LEPC) has been shown, the ultimate cause of this avoidance is unknown. An increased risk of predation due to raptors perching on these structures has been hypothesized as a reason for avoidance and even as a contributing factor in the observed decline of the species. I evaluated the effects of vertical structures at lek sites where LEPCs are seemingly very exposed and vulnerable, conducted raptor surveys throughout the study area to assess the raptor community throughout the year, and monitored nesting Swainson’s hawk (Buteo swainsoni) prey deliveries for LEPC presence. In addition, I studied sexual selection and the reproductive behavior of LEPCs at leks to gain a better understanding of the life history of the species.

Research Publications Publication Date
Behney, A.C., C.W. Boal, H.A. Whitlaw, and D.R. Lucia. 2012. Raptor community composition in the Texas Southern High Plains lesser prairie-chicken range. Wildlife Society Bulletin 36:291-296. June 2012
Behney, A.C., C.W. Boal, H.A. Whitlaw, and D.R. Lucia. 2010. Prey use by Swainson’s Hawks in the Lesser Prairie-chicken range of the Southern High Plains of Texas. Journal of Raptor Research 44:317-322. December 2010
Behney, A.C., C.W. Boal, H.A. Whitlaw, and D. Lucia. 2011. Interactions of raptors and Lesser Prairie-chickens at leks in the Texas Southern High Plains.Wilson Journal of Ornithology 123:332-338. June 2011
Behney, A.C., B.A. Grisham, C.W. Boal, H.A.Whitlaw, and D.A. Haukos. 2012. Sexual selection and mating chronology of lesser prairie-chickens. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 124:96-105 March 2012