New @ The Zoo
Meet The Animals
Many thanks to the generous donors who helped name an Attwater’s Prairie Chick at the Houston Zoo this spring. Over 80 chicks were named, raising just over $4,000 to support the Attwater’s Prairie Chicken Recovery Program. Once fully grown, these chicks will play an important part in saving their species by helping to reestablish the wild Attwater’s Prairie Chicken population.
Didn’t get to name a chick but still want to help saved the critically endangered Attwater’s Prairie Chicken? Click here to learn more about our Attwater’s Prairie Chicken Recovery Program and make a donation.
A century ago, a million Attwater’s Prairie Chickens roamed free in their native coastal plains habitat, including grasslands that now make up the Houston metropolitan area. Due to a number of factors, including habitat loss and predation, only about 100 of these birds are left in the wild at a few protected sites in Southeast Texas.
Attwater’s Prairie Chickens are perhaps best known for the elaborate behavior performed by males to attract females during breeding season. Males inflate the orange air sacks on their necks and emit a deep “booming” sound while dancing around stomping their feet. You can see this entertaining behavior and jig in this video.
The Houston Zoo is proud to manage the captive breeding program for the Attwater’s Prairie Chicken. Our behind the scenes facilities at the Zoo and at NASA’s Johnson Space Center house this important wildlife conservation project. After the chicks are several months old and have reached a certain maturity, they are transferred to an “acclimation pen” at the site of their future home. Once they become accustomed to their new surroundings, they are released to roam free into protected wild habitats where they will join the remaining populations.
Learn More about this incredible bird and the steps we are taking to protect it.