Male great bustard in field

Great bustard

Great bustards are quite possibly the heaviest flying birds in the world. They're often described as magnificent, stately birds on account of the males' great size, cocked tails and large white whiskers. Hunted to extinction in Britain in the mid 19th century, these grand birds are now gradually being reintroduced from Russia on to Salisbury Plain. Populations of great bustards are scattered on open farmland across Europe and Asia.

Scientific name: Otis tarda

Rank: Species

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Map showing the distribution of the Great bustard taxa

Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The Great bustard can be found in a number of locations including: Africa, Asia, China, Europe, Mediterranean, Russia, United Kingdom. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Great bustard distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status


  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Population trend: Decreasing

Year assessed: 2008

Classified by: IUCN 3.1


  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Vertebrates
  4. Birds
  5. Coots, cranes and rails
  6. Otididae
  7. Otis
  8. Great bustard

BBC News about Great bustard

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