Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Richard D. Andrews
Spring behavior of prairie-chickens (Tympanuchus cupido) has been studied extensively, however there is little information on fall-winter lekking activity. Greater prairie-chickens were observed weekly on a lek from 25 September 1982 to 23 June 1983 during morning and evening hours in Jasper County, Illinois. The peak number of prairie-chicken males on the lek occurred in February although hen attendance did not occur until 10 March 1983. All spring lekking activities were higher compared to that of the fall-winter period. Fall-winter lek activity was aggression which centered on probably brief, less intense male aggression which probably establishes or maintains territorial boundaries. Imperfect booming performances were common during the fall-winter with each display being best developed and most intense during hen attendance.
The AM period was less variable in daily attendance; significantly higher in time spent on the lek, Activity Index (i.e. Indice which incorporates time spent on the lek, mean encounters per cock, number of males involved in aggression and attendance on the lek; used to evaluate male behavior) and numbers of males on the lek; compared to that of the PM. The PM period was more affected by cloud cover (51-100%) and was associated with significantly less time spent on the lek, earlier departure times and a lower Activity Index.
The northern harrier (Circus cyaneus) accounted for 97.3% of the interspecific interactions with repeated harassment being the most common behavior observed. Ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) interactions were observed, however they appeared to be of little effect on lekking behavior in this study.
Simpson, Scott A., "Seasonal Lekking Behavior of the Greater Prairie-Chicken in Illinois" (1984). Masters Theses. 2845.
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