A meta-analysis of lesser prairie-chicken nesting and brood-rearing habitats: Implications for habitat management

Christian A. Hagen, Blake A. Grisham, Clint W. Boal, David A. Haukos

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43 Scopus citations


The distribution and range of lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) has been reduced by >90% since European settlement of the Great Plains of North America. Currently, lesser prairiechickens occupy 3 general vegetation communities: sand sagebrush (Artemisia filifolia), sand shinnery oak (Quercus havardii), and mixed-grass prairies juxtaposed with Conservation Reserve Program grasslands. As a candidate for protection under the Endangered Species Act, there is a need for a synthesis that characterizes habitat structure rangewide. Thus, we conducted a meta-analysis of vegetation characteristics at nest sites and brood habitats to determine whether there was an overall effect (Hedges' d) of habitat selection and to estimate average (95% CI) habitat characteristics at use sites. We estimated effect sizes (di) from the difference between use (nests and brood sites) and random sampling sites for each study (n = 14), and derived an overall effect size (d++). There was a general effect for habitat selection as evidenced by low levels of variation in effect sizes across studies and regions. There was a small to medium effect (d++ = 0.20-0.82) of selection for greater vertical structure (visual obstruction) by nesting females in both vegetation communities, and selection against bare ground (d++ = 0.20-0.58). Females with broods exhibited less selectivity for habitat components except for vertical structure. The variation of d++ was greater during nesting than brooding periods, signifying a seasonal shift in habitat use, and perhaps a greater range of tolerance for brood-rearing habitat. The overall estimates of vegetation cover were consistent with those provided in management guidelines for the species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)750-758
Number of pages9
JournalWildlife Society Bulletin
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Artemisia filifolia
  • Breeding habitat
  • Conservation Reserve Program
  • Effect size
  • Hedges'd
  • Lesser prairie-chicken
  • Quercus havardii
  • Sand sagebrush
  • Sand shinnery oak
  • Tympanuchus pallidicinctus


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