This huge turkey-like gamebird needs large areas of open country - steppe land - and is found in Spain, on the German-Polish border in Turkey and some other parts of Asia. European populations are rather sedentary but Asian ones move South in the winter.
The males have grey head, with a white moustache, rufous front and upper parts rich brown scalloped with black and a more rufous tail with grey edges. The grey and black wings are virtually turned inside out in amazing display. Female much smaller and lacks the moustache. Highly gregarious at all times - and unmistakable. This was a British bird but became extinct (last nested Wiltshire, Norfolk and Suffolk) about 150 years ago.
Big upright bird - what else could it be!
The following Bird On! picture is available:
Great Bustard (35mm Colour Slide by Roger Tidman)
Male Female Length 1050 mm 750 mm Closed wing 610 mm 480 mm Weight 11,000 gms 4,000 gms
A Bird On! Sketch by Chris Mead
Copyright © 1996 by Jacobi Jayne & Company and Chris Mead