(noun) An area where birds gather during the breeding season for community courtship displays to attract mates. Not all bird species congregate in leks, but they are common for different game birds such as prairie chickens, grouse and peafowl. In a lek, male birds defend their territory and engage in different courtship displays such as dancing, displaying distinctive plumage or making specific sounds to attract the attention of nearby females. If other males draw to close to one male's territory – which may be just a few square feet – aggressive fighting can occur. Lek sizes vary but generally contain several dozen birds in a small area.
Observing a lek can be a unique opportunity for birders to see otherwise elusive game birds. Many leks are in protected areas, however, and birders should approach them cautiously to avoid disturbing the birds. Habitat preservation is critical in lek areas to help protect sensitive species.
Photo – Greater Sage-Grouse © USFWS
Breeding Ground, Lekking (verb)