The greater prairie chicken or pinnated grouse (Tympanuchus cupido), sometimes called a boomer, is a large bird in the grouse family. This North American species was once abundant, but has become extremely rare. One of the most famous aspects of these creatures is the mating ritual called booming.
In Illinois alone, in the 1800s the prairie chicken numbered in the millions. They were a popular game bird, and they are now on the verge of extinction, with the wild bird population at around 200 in Illinois in 2019.
They are territorial birds and often defend their booming grounds, the area in which they perform their displays in hopes of attracting females. Their displays consist of inflating air sacs located on the side of their neck and snapping their tails. The one or two most dominant males can obtain 90% of mating opportunities.
This rare antique print of a pinnated grouse (or greater prairie chicken), blue-green warbler and Nashville warbler (1820) can be purchased in our online shop here: