Saturday, 6 June 2015

Great Bustard (Otis tarda)

Mature adult male Great Bustard (subspecies O. t. tarda) in grasslands in Castille-La-Mancha, Spain - April 2016

Local Name (Spain): Avutarda
Featured Subspecies: Otis tarda tarda
Weight: 10-19kg
Length: 90-105cm
Wingspan: 2.1-2.7m
NO UK STATUS / IUCN Red List: Vulnerable

The Great Bustard is a huge bird - the male in particular is possibly the heaviest living flying animal, rivaled only by other large bustard species.  They are I saw this species near Madrid on a guided tour with Luis Sitges who was familiar with where best to see them, though unfortunately due to disturbance caused by people walking along the fields, this was the only individual we saw of this massive species. It was formerly resident in the UK, but due to hunting became extinct by 1840s, but as of 2002 a reintroduction project has begun to re-establish this spectacular bird as a breeding species in England.

Related Species:
Order: Gruiformes
Family: Otididae
Genus: Otis
Subspecies: O. t. tarda, O. t. dybowskii

 - Sighting Locations -
SPAIN - Scarce but locally common resident of farmland.
 - MADRID 2015 TRIP: One male seen at great distance on the farmlands around Madrid 
 - MADRID 2016 TRIP: Abundant in the surroundings of Laguna del Longar (multiple flocks of around 10 birds, one flock of 90)

Further Notes: RSPB, Wikipedia, BirdGuides, BirdForum Opus, Arkive, IUCN Red List

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