Reproductive Stages Limiting Productivity of the Endangered Attwater's Prairie Chicken Academic Article uri icon


  • An important concern of conservation biologists is determining what conditions most limit the number of individuals in endangered populations. Because time is a constraint, narrowing the search for such factors is beneficial. Towards this end we used broad spatial and temporal data, to test the hypothesis that reproductive success (as measured by juvenile-to-adult ratios) of the endangered Attwater's Prairie Chicken (Tympanuchus cupido attwateri) was not equal to that of the nonendangered Greater Prairie Chicken (T. c. pinnatus). We then tested the hypotheses that mean clutch size, egg hatchability, nesting success, and number of chicks per brood prior to brood breakup for Attwater's Prairie Chicken were not equal to those of the Greater Prairie Chicken. We found the mean ratio of juveniles to adults among Attwater's Prairie Chicken was less than that of the Greater Prairie Chicken (p < 0.011), as would be predicted if reproductive success controls proportional changes in prairie-grouse numbers among years. Mean nesting success (32.2%) and number of chicks per brood prior to brood breakup (4.2) of Attwater's Prairie Chicken were both less than those of the Greater Prairie Chicken (49.5%, p = 0.0425, and 6.0 p = 0.0001, respectively). We suggest that researchers focus on determining what proportion of Attwater's Prairie Chicken broods survive and why Attwater's Prairie Chicken nesting and brood-rearing success are so poor relative to those of the Greater Prairie Chicken.

published proceedings

  • Conservation Biology

author list (cited authors)

  • Peterson, M. J., & Silvy, N. J.

citation count

  • 27

complete list of authors

  • Peterson, Markus J||Silvy, Nova J

publication date

  • August 1996