The LPC currently occupies 30,900 square miles in the southern Great Plains, which is only 17% of its estimated historical range. Portions of the LPC habitat lie in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. The LPC habitat lies in three distinct ecosystems: sand sagebrush (Artemisia filifolia), sand shinnery oak (Quercus havardii) and mixed grass vegetation communities. These are used to describe the four specific ecoregions in which the LPC is found:
- Shinnery Oak Prairie Region (SOPR), which is located in eastern New Mexico and the southwest Texas Panhandle.
- Sand Sagebrush Prairie Region (SSPR), which is located in southeastern Colorado, southwestern Kansas, and the western Oklahoma Panhandle.
- Mixed Grass Prairie Region (MGPR), which is located in the northeast Texas panhandle, western Oklahoma, and south central Kansas.
- Short Grass/CRP Mosaic (SG/CRP), which is located in northwestern Kansas.
The LPC has three necessary habitat components: nesting habitat, brood-rearing and summer habitat, and autumn and winter habitat. Optimal LPC habitat generally consists of 2/3 nesting habitat and 1/3 brood habitat. The fire-grazing interaction historically created a mosaic of cover that the LPC relied on, so disturbance is an integral part of LPC habitat and reproductive success, but must be implemented according to their life cycle.
Leks are characterized by low vegetation and are often located on a knoll or ridge. Disturbed areas, such as old well pads, have been known to be utilized as LPC leks. Since leks are highly visible and frequented during mating season, leks are important for monitoring LPC populations, location, and health.
Watch a video on LPC habitat types and leks.