Attwater's Prairie Chicken
While you won’t see the Attwater’s prairie chickens when you visit the Caldwell Zoo, our zoo keepers work very hard to breed and raise these animals behind the scenes. The Caldwell Zoo and several other facilities (Houston Zoo, Fossil Rim, and the Abilene Zoo, to name a few) work together to raise and release these birds into the wild to ensure they will always be part of the Texas ecology. Historically the Attwater’s prairie chickens inhabited about 6 million acres of coastal prairie in Texas and Louisiana, but today only about 1% of that original range is left.
Attwater’s Prairie Chicken
Tympanuchus cupido attwateri
Habitat: Tallgrass coastal prairies in southeast Texas
Diet in the wild: Green foliage, seeds of native plants and insects
Diet at Caldwell Zoo: Grain with peas and varied fruits and vegetables
United States Federal Status: Endangered
Texas State Status: Endangered
Threats: Habitat destruction by farming, cattle grazing and city development
Male Attwater’s prairie chickens have orange air sacs on either side of their necks, which they can inflate while making mating calls to amplify the sound. This allows calls to be heard from half a mile away.
The Attwater’s prairie chicken has been listed as endangered on the federal level since March 11, 1967.