Distinguishing Features – The Great Bustard is one of the largest birds capable of flight. Weight: males up to 17 kg, females up to 8 kg; length: male may be 1.2 m long with a 2.4 m wingspan.
The Great Bustard is a vulnerable species. It is distributed throughout many countries in Europe, Russia and Asia. The population may number as many as 31,000 – 37,000 individuals. However, its Palearctic range has all but disappeared and there have been rapid declines throughout eastern and central Europe and in parts of Asia particularly Kazakhstan and Mongolia.
It occurs in steppe, secondary and pasture grassland and open, non-intensive agricultural land. Areas with little or no disturbance are required if breeding is to be successful. Hunting is a major threat in Ukraine and China. Mechanisation, chemical fertilisers and pesticides, fire and predation all contribute to high mortality in eggs, chicks and juveniles.
Primarily seeds, berries, insects.
The Great Bustard is legally protected in some European countries. Future conservation targets for the species include conducting research into limiting factors, protecting and managing breeding areas, ensuring the availability of winter habitat, upgrading existing and establishing new protected areas in east Asia, implementing agri-environment measures for low intensity farming, preventing steppe fires, preventing illegal hunting, prevent collisions with power-lines and raising public awareness.