About animals

Adaptation of the bustard of the eastern subspecies Otis tarda dybowskii to agricultural land and the problems of their protection in the Daurian steppe (Russia, Mongolia, China) Text of a scientific article on the specialty - Biological Sciences


A large bird, approximately from a turkey. Sexual dimorphism is expressed mainly in size: the male is much larger, with white color prevailing on the open wing from above, and the female has less color because of the larger area of ​​red coverts. On the folded wing, the white field is visible in the male, but in the female, as a rule, not. Seasonal color differences are negligible. In spring, the male has a "mustache" of elongated white feathers, a red color predominates on the neck from below. After the middle of summer there is no "mustache", the red feathers on the neck are mostly replaced by gray ones, like in a female. Young ones look like a female until September-October, but are lighter and more reddish, gray feathers interspersed with red ones on the head and neck, black speckles on the back are less distinct, the undercoat is striped (in adults it is pure white). Get a full wedding dress from the age of 3 to 6 years. Males participating in breeding for the first time may lack a "mustache", the redhead on the neck is weaker. The weight of adult males is 7–12 kg (specimens up to 20 are known), females - 4–8 kg, length 80–120, wing of males 59.5–70.0, females 47.0–66.0, wingspan 190–260 cm.


Steppe semi-desert, forest-steppe and steppe regions of Eurasia from Spain to the Far East. In Siberia, in the middle of the 20th century, bustards nested in a wide strip of steppes. At present, only a few outbreaks have survived on nesting in a very small number; isolated meetings are occasionally recorded within the rest of the former range.
Subspecies 2, both are in Siberia. Western nominative O. I. tarda is distributed in the steppes of Europe and Asia, to the east - up to 3. Altai. Males and females have a gray top from above, a red one from below, small covering wings are red with dark transverse streaks, on all helmsmen, except for 1-2 extreme pairs, there are red spots, in mating attire males have only a "mustache" on the sides of their throats. Eastern subspecies O. t. dybowskii has a range from southeast Altai to the Far East. Males and females have a gray neck, small wing coverts are also gray, red spots are found only on the central helmsmen, they are not on the 5 extreme pairs, males have elongated feathers on their throats, both on the sides and from the bottom, “ mustache and beard".


Ground birds walk and run excellently. Before take off, they scatter, fly fast and low. High grass steppes are most readily chosen for nesting, and in dry steppes they prefer meadows and coastal grassy areas. They nest on agricultural lands among cereals, potatoes and even sunflower.
They return from wintering when snow melts. They do not form steam. Females fly to current males, like grouse or black grouse. During the currenting, the male spreads its wings and tail, inflates the goiter, all fluffs and walks along its current site somewhere in an elevated place, on the bald patch. Toking occurs almost without sound. Where the bustard is small, solitary males usually flow; at a high density, currenting is a group phenomenon.
Nesting begins in the first half of May. A nest is a hole in a pound that a female digs up; it can be covered by grass or open. Often they make a nest on a bare arable land, and rising shoots cover it. Most often there is no bedding in the nest, or it is a few blades of grass that happened to be there by chance. As a rule, there are 2 eggs in the clutch, less often 3 or 1. The female lays them with an interval of 1-2 days, begins to incubate from the first egg. Eggs are similar to crane, but more rounded. Their background is from light clay to olive green, spotting is very different, from an obscure blurry rash to brown or red-brown spots of irregular shape and different intensity. The shell is very shiny. Egg sizes 73-90 x 53-67 mm. In case of danger, the female lurks on the nest, thanks to the protective color, she is well camouflaged even in low grass, despite the large size. Away from the nest, depicting a wounded man. In extreme heat it closes the masonry with its shadow. The duration of incubation is 28-30 days. Chicks hatch at intervals, leave the nest together. The female feeds the chicks for the first 3-5 days, then they begin to collect food themselves, but they receive food from the female for 2-3 weeks. The bustards are covered with thick ocher down with a masking pattern of dark stripes and spots. They become flying at the age of about a month or a little more, but remain with their mother until the fall, and sometimes until the spring.
The food is mixed. This and plant food, consisting of leaves, inflorescences, seeds of wild and cultivated plants, animal food - a variety of insects, most locusts and beetles, often rodents and lizards. Chicks eat insects almost exclusively, and ants and their pupae are especially important for them. Bustards regularly go or fly to watering places, but if the water is very far away, the chicks can get along with dew and moisture from the feed. Maximum active at dawn.
Males do not take part in nesting concerns. When females sit on their nests, they gather in groups and flocks until the next breeding season. In the summer they molt. But flywheels are replaced gradually over several seasons, so molting does not interfere with flight. Females and young by the fall also fall into flocks - separately from males. Wintering places are relatively close: in the Caucasus, Central Asia, and eastern China. Bustards grow slowly, become late adults. Males grow up at the age of 5-6 years, females - at 3-4 years. Up to this age they keep in packs all year round. They seek to return from their wintering sites to their former nesting sites.
Bustards have long been an object of hunting, which was the main reason for the catastrophic decline in numbers and reduction of habitat. The species is listed in the Red Books of Russia and Kazakhstan, its condition inspires serious concern. The main limiting factors at present are the death of clutches and chicks on agricultural lands or working machinery, from livestock, from shepherd's and stray dogs, and fertilizers, anxiety and poachers cause considerable damage. Special work is being done to protect nests and collect eggs on arable land, to breed chicks in incubators and on special farms. In the south of 3. Europe and in a number of steppe regions of European Russia, the number of bustards was restored, and in some places, to the fishing level.

The text of the scientific work on the topic “Adaptation of the bustard of the eastern subspecies Otis tarda dybowskii to agricultural land and the problems of their protection in the Daurian steppe (Russia, Mongolia, China)”

Russian Birdwatching Journal 2019, Volume 28, Express Edition 1759: 1791-1797

Adaptation of the bustard of the eastern subspecies Otis tarda dybowskii to agricultural land and the problems of their protection in the Daurian steppe (Russia, Mongolia, China)

Second edition. First publication in 2018 *

The bustard Otis tarda is listed in the Red List of globally endangered IUCN species, especially the state of the population of the eastern subspecies O. t. dybowskii. The main habitats are located in the Daurian steppes (abbreviated as Dau-ria) within the limits of Southeast Transbaikalia and Northeast Mongolia. The bustard population in Transbaikalia was severely undermined in the 1950s and 1960s during the mass plowing of virgin lands, accompanied by intensive hunting (Gagina 1965, Chan, Goroshko 1998). The subsequent transition of bustard to habitat on arable lands had both a positive and negative impact on the population and is of particular importance for the conservation of the species in the future (Goroshko 2002, 2015).

Research Area, Material and Methods

We collected material in the period 1990-2017 mainly in Southeastern Transbaikalia and Northeast Mongolia, where studies are carried out annually, in the adjacent territory of China, studies are not annual. The main methods of data collection are a survey of bustard habitats and a detailed survey of people living there. The local population knows bustard well, so the survey allowed us to collect a lot of valuable information.

The region is characterized by extensive agriculture. Steppes are used for pasture (grazing mainly sheep, cows, horses), hayfields and arable land. Wheat and oats are grown on the Russian territory, less often barley, buckwheat, canola, millet, in Mongolia - only wheat (but since the 2010s, rapeseed also in small volumes), in the adjacent territory of China - mainly wheat and canola, less often corn , legumes and a number of other crops.

Mass plowing of the virgin steppes in the South-East Transbaikalia and neighboring Mongolia was in the 1960-1980s. In the Russian and Chinese parts of the steppe Dauria, arable lands occupy about 20% of the territory

* Goroshko O.A. 2018. Adaptation of the bustard of the eastern subspecies to farmland and the problems of its protection in the Daurian steppe (Russia, Mongolia, China) // Birds and agriculture. Ivanovo: 68-74.

thorium, in Mongolia - about 2%. In Russia and in Mongolia, up to the beginning of the 1990s, about 40% of arable land was not sown annually (remained in pairs), in 1992-1995 there was a sharp reduction in sown area (due to the economic crisis), since 1997, deposits occupy about 90% of arable land, in the 2000s, the volume of agriculture remained extremely low (except for economic problems, this is also associated with many years of drought), since the beginning of the 2010s there has been a slow recovery of agriculture. Agriculture in China is much more intensive, since the 2010s there has been a sharp increase in sown area. In Transbaikalia in the 1980s, pastures were in a depressed state due to overgrazing. As a result of the reduction in livestock numbers and due to the increased amount of rainfall, pastures have largely recovered by the end of the 1990s. In Mongolia, pasture degradation due to overgrazing is observed only in the immediate vicinity of the villages, and in China there is a very strong overgrazing almost everywhere.

An important feature of Dauria is the presence of pronounced climatic cycles lasting about 30 years with alternating dry and wet periods (Obyazov 2012), which have a great influence on the state of the bustard population and agriculture (Goroshko 2003). The peak of the dry period was in 1983, the wet period was in 1995, 2000-2017 - the dry period.

Adaptation of bustards to farmland

In the southeastern Transbaikalia, bustards began to nest on arable lands in the mid-late 1970s, by the end of the 1990s they had already completely mastered them and even preferred them to the virgin steppes (Goroshko 2002, 2015). Most current cattle in the steppe zone of Transbaikalia and Mongolia are located on arable lands (mainly on fallow lands), about 65% of females nest here, adult bustards on arable lands spend about 80% of daylight hours in spring and autumn and about 60% in summer, 90% in winter. In the spring, bustards prefer to feed on the fields with paddan grain (most often wheat, less often oats and buckwheat). In summer, part of the adult females and some males go to the steppe, but immature individuals and most of the males remain in deposits and rapeseed fields (they like to feed on rape leaves). Broods usually stay near the border of the steppe and arable land. In the fall, bustards live almost all the time on harvested fields and deposits; sometimes they spend the night on neighboring meadows. In winter, bustards feed and rest almost exclusively on harvested grain fields (a small number of bustards winters in Dauria).

Females with chicks try to stay close to bushes or other relatively tall but sparse vegetation and use

her as a shelter in case of danger. Therefore, on the fields and deposits surrounded by forest belts, bustards settle more often than on completely open agricultural lands.

The transition of bustards to live on arable land is associated not with a shortage of natural habitats (there are more than enough of them in the region), but with a greater attractiveness of arable land. First of all, by the abundance of readily available food: in addition to grain and rapeseed leaves, it is easier to collect beetles on a relatively open soil surface, and weed plants (whose bustards also feed on leaves) are larger and more juicy on arable land than in the surrounding steppe (Goroshko et al. 2003 ) In spring, the soil on arable land warms up faster than in the steppe, which contributes to the location of current cattle and nesting females. Arable land is less frequently visited by livestock and difficult to drive for vehicles, so the disturbance factor here is lower than in the steppe, with the exception of periods of intensive agricultural work.

In all three countries, the steppe regions, which are most favorable for bustards, are at the same time the most favorable for livestock and agriculture. Currently, more than 90% of bustards live on arable land, pastures and hayfields. The period of intensive reduction and degradation of the natural habitats of bustards in Transbaikalia was in the 1960-1980s as a result of their transformation, degradation and fragmentation due to plowing, overgrazing and the appearance of many roads. The most acute problem of loss and degradation of habitats is in China, the least acute is in Mongolia.

Positive and negative factors associated with the habitat of bustards on arable land compared to natural land

Positive factors: 1) the abundance of feed, 2) the best protective conditions (deposits usually overgrow with rather high, but sparse weeds, which provide birds with camouflage, but do not interfere with the review, poachers often hunt bustards using auto-port, which is complicated by arable land, poaching is one of the most important reasons for the reduction in the number of bustards in Dauria), 3) fires (an important factor in the death of eggs and chicks) on arable lands are much less common, 4) anxiety on arable lands (especially fallow lands) is in many cases much lower.

1) Poisoning of adult birds and chicks by pesticides. In the South-East Transbaikalia, deaths of 13 adult bustards (including a group of 6 birds) as a result of the application of pesticides in the fields in the 1970-1980s are known (Goroshko 2002). Pesticides were often used at that time, but bustards lived mainly in the steppe beyond

arable land. During 1995-2017, pesticides were used in very limited quantities due to the crisis in agriculture, so the death of bustards from poisoning was not recorded. But since the beginning of the 2010s, during the restoration of agriculture, the use of pesticides has been increasing, especially significant growth was noted in 2016 and 2017. Since in the coming years a long-term humid climatic period favorable for agriculture should begin, it is expected that the likelihood of bustard poisoning will increase as agriculture recovers. This poses a serious threat to the species, as bustards are currently very closely associated with arable land. Pesticides are used in the cultivation of all types of crops, but most often - rapeseed, the leaves of which bustards love to eat. Rapeseed sown area in the South-East Transbaikalia has been growing rapidly since 2016. Approximately the same situation (both with the use of pesticides and with the cultivation of rapeseed) is also observed in the neighboring territory of Mongolia (rapeseed was only grown here in the 2010s). In neighboring areas of China, pesticides are used in large quantities, and rapeseed crops occupy vast territories.

2) The death of eggs and small chicks during arable work. In Dauria, egg laying in bustards is stretched from late April to late June, and is most intense in early May. Plowing for sowing crops begins in early May, the most intense in the second half of May. Plowing occurs during June and July. Arable work leads to the mass death of eggs, and often small chicks on cultivated land. In the Russian part of Dauria, machine operators, as a rule, do not plow the nest, if they manage to notice it in time, leave a 2-8 m wide area of ​​undisclosed land around the nest. the roles of predators are usually the raven Corvus corax and the crow Corvus orientalis, but they are also not numerous in the steppe Dauria).Nevertheless, an insignificant part of the eggs still survives, as disturbed females often do not return to the nest. During intensive farming in the 1980-1990s, in the Russian part of Dauria, about 30% of the clutches located on all arable land (including uncultivated deposits) were annually destroyed during arable farming. Due to the agricultural crisis, the damage to the population in 2000-2017 was low, but it will grow as the recovery in agriculture begins.

3) Anxiety. Bustards are careful and very sensitive to anxiety. Anxiety of females in the first half of the nesting period is especially dangerous. It was at this time that intensive agricultural

agricultural work (sowing, processing of deposits). The abundance of technology causes concern bustard not only in the cultivated areas, but also in adjacent areas. And on pastures, anxiety is quite high throughout the year.

4) The death of chicks under the knives of agricultural machinery during haying, less often - harvesting silage, sometimes - harvesting. In Transbaikalia, 12 such cases are known. This threat is great in Russia and China, where large areas are mowing, but small in Mongolia, where hay is rarely mowed.

5) Predation of shepherd dogs. They are almost always contained in all three countries without a leash. In Transbaikalia, 5 cases of killing of chicks by dogs are known. This threat was quite large in the 19701980s, but decreased in 1990-2000 due to a significant reduction in the number of livestock and the number of livestock stands. However, in recent years there has been a slow increase in the number of livestock and dogs and it is expected that in the coming years, with the onset of a humid climatic period, the restoration of livestock production will continue - thus, the threat of predation by dogs will increase. In China, the level of this threat is about the same as in Russia, but in Mongolia it is much higher.

Conservation status and conservation recommendations

The current network of protected natural areas of Dauria cannot ensure the sustainable conservation of the bustard population. In the Southeast Transbaikalia, only about 5% of the population lives in the protected areas, in North-Eastern Mongolia - about 10%, in neighboring China - about 20%. The creation of protected areas is a very important method of conservation of many rare species of animals, but this method is ineffective and almost not applicable for saving bustards for the following reasons: 1) the steppes are very actively used by people for agriculture, therefore the possibilities for creating and expanding the network of steppe protected areas are very limited, such protected areas small and they have a small area, 2) the population density of bustards in Dauria is extremely low, birds are distributed in small groups over a vast territory, so it is impossible to create a network of protected areas that would cover the part of habitats remaining for the sustainable conservation of the species, 3) in Dauria, the distribution of bustards is almost continuous and changes very much due to many years of cyclical climate change (Goroshko 2003), 4) and finally, bustards now prefer to nest on arable land rather than in steppes.

Given the foregoing and ongoing rapid economic development by people of the steppe zone, the prospects for maintaining bustards in

The natural landscape is extremely ghostly. To save the bustard, it is important to ensure its conservation on agricultural land. Special protected areas are needed. These may be specialized bustard sanctuaries, the regime of which provides for farming with certain restrictions. In particular, it is necessary to exclude or strictly restrict the use of pesticides, regulate the timing of plowing deposits (it is forbidden to plow in May and June), plowing nests, prohibiting stray dogs and other measures. It is also necessary to control the distribution of birds (attracting birds to sites that are optimal from the point of view of bustard conservation). The methods of attracting birds can be top dressing (for example, cultivating crops particularly preferred by bustards or laying out fodder in early spring), creating wet meadow plots (eastern bustard bustards love to feed on wet meadows and usually nest no further than 1 km from lakes, rivers, streams ), creating an optimal nesting landscape with sparse shrubs. Examination of the area before plowing and identification of hatched females will allow you to adjust the process of plowing. In particular, since bustards sit on the eggs very densely, plowing without scaring birds from the nests is possible if you leave areas around the nests with a radius of 25 m or more. In order for agricultural producers to agree to these restrictions and additional costs, measures are needed to compensate for their losses. For example, the development of commercial educational tourism based on such protected areas. Undoubtedly, there should be state support for such protected areas.

Of course, other measures are also needed aimed at eliminating the main threats and limiting factors: preventing fires and increasing the efficiency of fire fighting, combating poaching, eliminating the death of bustards from a collision with power lines (the best option is laying underground cables), environmental education of the population, and improving legislation and etc.

Gagina T.N. 1965. Birds and agricultural production. Alma-Ata: 1- 52. Goroshko O.A. 2002. Status and protection of crane and bustard populations in Southeastern Transbaikalia and adjacent regions of Mongolia. Dis. . Cand. biol. sciences. M .: 1-194 (manuscript).

Goroshko O.A. 2003. The influence of perennial climatic cycles on the population of the eastern subspecies of bustard Otis tarda dybowskii Taczanowski, 1874 // Bustard birds of Russia and neighboring countries. Saratov, 2: 7-29. Goroshko O.A. 2015. Data on the biology of the eastern subspecies of bustard Otis tarda dybowskii

in Dauria // Rus. ornithol. journal 24 (1181): 3053-3065. Goroshko O.A., Korsun O.V., Tkachuk T.E. 2003. Data on the nutrition of bustard (Otis tarda dybowskii Taczanowski, 1874) // Bustard birds of Russia and neighboring countries. Saratov, 2: 30-36.

Obyazov V.A. 2012. Climate change and the hydrological regime of rivers and lakes in the Daurian ecoregion // Problems of adaptation to climate change in the Daurian river basins: environmental and water management aspects. Chita: 24-45. Chan S., Goroshko O. 1998. Action plan for conservation of the Great Bustard. Asia Council, BirdLife International, Tokyo: 1-44.

Russian Birdwatching Journal 2019, Volume 28, Express Edition 1759: 1797-1798

New bird migration data

over the water area of ​​the North-East Caspian

Second edition. First publication in 2015 *

Regular observations in the northern half of the Caspian Sea during the period of seasonal migrations showed that large water spaces are not a significant barrier not only to waterfowl and near-water, but also to many land birds. Earlier, 70 species from 10 orders were noted here (Gistsov 2004). Our observations in 2013-2014 from aboard two research vessels made it possible to obtain new, substantially supplementing the previous, data on the characteristics of the flight of birds of different groups across the water area. Some of these data are provided below.

206 species belonging to 16 orders were registered, including 15 specially protected species. Charadriiformes (51 species) and Anseriformes (23) predominate from birds of the water complex, and passerines (72) and falconiform (20 species) from land birds. Even typical forest species migrate across the sea, such as the pine nut Nucifraga caryocat-actes, the wren Troglodytes troglodytes, the yellow-headed kingworm Regulus regulus, and the creeper Certhia familiaris.

In general, the periods of spring and autumn migration over the water area are identical to those for land: spring - from February to May, autumn - from late July to October. As on land, two forms of migration are distinguished above the sea: transit passage - in predators, pigeons, crayfish, passerines, and trophic movements - in loons, grebes, cormorants, mergansers, gulls and terns. The intensity of migration over the water area is largely dependent on weather conditions. In the daytime, with relatively stable weather, it is not large - from 3-8 to 25-43 ind./h. In windy, cloudy weather intensity

* Erokhov S.N., Mishchenko V.P. 2015. New data on bird migration over the waters of the North-East Caspian II 14th International. ornithol. conf. North Eurasia. 1. Theses. Almaty: 186-187.

Sources of information

A complete guide to birds in the European part of Russia. In 3 parts. Part 1. S. I-263. Authors: E.A. Koblik, Y.A. Redkin, M.V. Kalyakin, V.V. Morozov, I.S. Smetanin, S.A. Kouzov S.M. Kosenko, H. Groot Kurkamp, ​​V.K. Ryabitsev, D.R. Khaidarov, V.V. Kontorschikov, M.V. Melnikov, P.S. Tomkovich, V.Yu. Arkhipov.


Latin name:Otis tarda

Appearance and behavior. Large (females) and very large (males) birds of open spaces, on high legs, of a solid physique, with a relatively long neck and a short powerful beak. The mass of males is more than 8 kg, can exceed 12 and even 14 kg, such birds are not able to fly, the mass of females is 3.5–7 kg. The body length of males is 90–105 cm, females 75–85 cm, wingspan, respectively, 210–250 and 170–190 cm. Mostly they move on foot, slowly “graze”, in case of danger they can quickly run or, on the contrary, hide behind to the ground. They take off heavily and rarely fly, usually not rising high above the ground.

The flight is heavy, outwardly unhurried, the outlines of the flying bustard resemble a large predator with wide and long wings with spread “fingers” of the feathers of a feather, however, they differ in a relatively long thin neck and powerful body, especially in its front part, legs almost do not protrude over the edge of a relatively short tail . Not able to soar. When collecting food, they usually slowly and carefully examine the substrate, after which they make a sharp lunge with the neck and peck the food. They are careful to observe them usually from a long distance.

Description. The plumage of the upper body is buffy, with a pattern of frequent thin black transverse “brackets”. The head is gray with a steel tint, the neck of an adult male in mating plumage is gray with a red blurry collar at the base, for non-breeding males it is gray-reddish with an outlined collar, the female is even more reddish, without a pronounced "collar" at the base of the neck, gray color only spreads on its top. The plumage of the lower body is pure white, as is the underside of the wing. The top of the wing is also mostly white, with a dark pattern at the ends of all the feathers (one of the differences from the strep) and a black bracket at the base of the primary feathers. When the bird is standing, the edge of the folded wing also looks white, this section of the male is much larger in area than that of the female. Bill is yellowish-gray, eyes are dark, legs are greenish-brownish.

The male, in addition to size, has a relatively thicker neck and a large head. The tail of a different shape than that of a female, in profile, looks much more “high”. Outside of the breeding season, the male’s neck is thinner, the head is more elegant, there are no “whiskers” of white thin and long feathers directed back, which distinguish an adult male in a mating outfit. Young males, especially in winter plumage, are poorly distinguishable from females. It differs from a much smaller strept by its wider wings, the distribution of white color on its wings, from males of a strept - by the proportions and coloring of the neck and head, a more reddish general tone of color, the nature of mating demonstrations.

Vote. Rarely makes sounds. The current is accompanied only by short, quiet sounds, reminiscent of rumbling or clinking. From a frightened bird you can hear short dull “coughing” signals, sounding approximately like “ong". Young birds emit high melancholy whistles, as do young streptos.

Distribution Status. The current area is fragmented, previously inhabiting the steppe zone from the Atlantic to the Primorsky Territory. Now it is found as a very rare or rare species in the strip of steppes and semi-deserts from Europe (several small nesting centers in Spain, Germany, Hungary and Romania) and Asia Minor to Transbaikalia. The European populations are sedentary, the rest make non-extended migrations, moving slightly south of the breeding range. Included in the Red Book of Russia.

Lifestyle. It inhabits open dry habitats - steppes, semi-deserts, open foothills and hills with grassy vegetation, agricultural land, needs watering. Females, young and non-breeding birds (males up to 4-6 years old, females up to 2-4) are kept in groups. Arrive early, right after the snow melts. From the beginning of the nesting period (from the end of April) to June, males demonstrate complex current “dances”, raising their tail and somewhat “laying” it forward, onto the back, and with an increased level of excitement they take their heads back, inflate their neck, lower their wings and partially spread their wings and then the white feathers are fluffed up so that something almost white and spherical is formed. These demonstrations take place on earth, usually in groups. Permanent pairs do not form.

The relatively small nests of the female are built on the ground from plant materials, often under the guise of grass curtains. In the clutch, usually 2, less often 3 or 4 eggs with a shiny brownish or greenish shell with blurry dark spots. Hatching lasts up to a month, the chicks leave the nest after hatching the entire brood, the female feeds them for the first few days (mainly by insects), then they gradually switch to independent collection of food. Newborn chicks are dressed in light beige fluff with dark contrasting spots and stripes. Young birds can fly at the age of about a month, but usually stay with the females for a long time. Autumn departure occurs late, in October or November.

They are omnivorous, plant foods prevail in the diet, and invertebrates prevail in chicks.

Taxonomy and Etymology

Bustard was classified with its scientific name in 1758 by Karl Linney, although this species was referred to as Avis Tarda in the much older writings of Pliny the Elder, and therefore its name in English (from Old French bistarda ) and some other languages: abetarda (Fri) avetarda (hl) avutarda (s). Otis is the ancient Greek name for "bustard". View name Tard , is Latin for “slow” and “intentional”, which tends to describe the typical pedestrian style of the view.


These birds habitat is meadow or steppe defined by open, flat or several hilly landscapes. They can be found on enduring cultivation and seem to prefer plots with wild or row crops such as cereals, vineyards and fodder plants. However, during the breeding season, they actively avoid areas with regular human activities and may be disturbed by agricultural practices. Large bustards are often attracted to areas with significant insect activity.

Most bustards live in Europe, and more than half the world's population in central Spain with about 30,000 individuals. Small groups in southern Russia and on the Hungarian plain.


The species is sociable, especially in winter, when clusters of several tens of birds can occur. Male and female groups do not mix outside the breeding season. Bustard has a majestic slow walk, but tends to work when broken, and not fly. Running speeds were not measured, but adult females were known to outrun red foxes ( Vulpes vulpes ) that can reach a speed of trot of 48 km / h (30 mph). However, they can be quite powerful pilots, and also, especially during seasonal movements, and can reach speeds of up to 80 km / h (50 mph) in flight. Both sexes are generally silent, but can engage in deep grunts when alarmed or outraged. Imaging an adult male can produce some echoing, grunting and hoarse sounds. The female can make some laryngeal calls to the nest and the young ones are thinking to make a soft, trill call in connection with their mothers. Asia and Russia, species populations are migratory and gather in large numbers at pre-migratory sites in order to move collectively overwintering.In the rest of the range, such as Central Asia, only partial migrations can occur based on seasonal food availability. In the Iberian Peninsula, bustards that participate in migration seem to choose different periods for movement based on gender. No population is not known, they use the same grounds for wintering and summering.


Bustards breed in March, and one male can mate up to five females. Before mating, males molt in their mating outfit around January. The males establish dominance in their groups in the winter, facing rampant stuffed in and punches to each other from their accounts. Like other bustards, male bustards displays and competes for the attention of females to what is known as lek. In this species, the male has a bright display, starting with a pompous male inflating his throat to the size of a soccer ball. Then he leans forward and pulls his head so that the long chin whiskery feathers are directed upward, and the head is no longer visible. Then he throws his tail flat along his back, exposing the usually hidden bright white plumage, then he lowers the wings, with the flight feathers of the flight is complicated, but with a white minor fan. A display man who could walk around for several minutes at a time with feathers and a flared head buried while waiting for chickens to arrive was described as a “foam bath” because of his appearance. All tribal bustards also molt again from June to September.

From one to three olive or colored, glossy eggs (two eggs being on average) the female is laid in May or June. Nests, which are small abrasions made by the female on dry, soft slopes and plains, are usually located close to the level of the lek. The nests are located in clusters, with the study in Inner Mongolia finding the nests at least 9 m (30 ft) apart. In the same study, nests were placed mid-height on a hill, from about 190 to 230 meters (620 to 750 feet). Nesting sites, as a rule, in dense grass vegetation from about 15 to 35 cm (5.9 to 13.8 in), probably for protection against predators, with great exposure to sunlight. Eggs weigh about 150 grams (5.3 ounces), and average 79.4 mm (3.13 inches) tall by 56.8 mm (2.24 inches) wide. The female incubates at rest for 21 to 28 days. The chicks almost immediately leave the nest after they hatch, although they do not move very far from their mother until they are at least 1 year old. Young bustards begin to develop their adult plumage for about 2 months, and begin to develop flying skills at the same time. They practice stretching, running, clapping, and doing small jumps and jumps to get in the air. For three months they can fly a reasonable distance. If at risk, the young ones stand still using their fluffy plumage, mostly sepia-colored with pale buffy veins like camouflage. Juveniles are not dependent on their first winter, but usually remain with their mother until the next breeding season. Males usually begin to mate between 5 and 6 years old, although they may participate in breeding display behavior at a younger age. Women are usually the first mating 2 to 3 years old.


The species is omnivorous, taking various products in different seasons. In northwestern Spain in August, 48.4% of the diet of adult birds was green plant material, 40.9% were invertebrates, and 10.6% were seeds. In the same population in the winter, seeds and green plant material amounted to almost a complete diet. Alfalfa would seem to be preferred in the diet of birds from Spain. Another life favoring plants in the diet may include legumes, crucifers, common dandelion and grapes, and dry seeds of wheat and barley. Among animal predators, insects tend to eat and are the staple food for young bustards in their first summer, although they then move on to the seasonal herbivorous preferences of an adult winter. Coleopterans (including beetles), Hymenoptera (including bees, wasps, and ants) and orthopterans (including crickets, grasshoppers, and locusts) are generally accepted, mainly depending on their presence and abundance. Small vertebrates, including small rodents, frogs, lizards and chicks of other birds, can supplement the diet when the opportunity arises. Large bustards can eat poisonous blister beetles of the genus Meloe self-medication (Zoopharmacognosy) increases male sexual arousal.


In winter, the feeding intensity increases, and then decreased until the morning of both sexes, and was lower in the flocks of males than in the flocks of females. This sexual difference is greater where the presence of legumes was less in central Spain. Men who were fed slightly less intensely than women could compensate for longer feeding periods and a larger bite, which would allow them to get enough food relative to their absolute daily energy needs. The size of the morning food search area is smaller in places with more legumes available, probably because legumes are the most preferred type of substrate.


Large bustards usually live for about 10 years, but some of them are known to live up to 15 years or more. The maximum known species life span was 28 years. Adult males seem to have a higher mortality rate than females, mainly due to the fierce intraspecific struggle with other males during the breeding season. Many men may die in their first few years of maturity due to this reason.

Although little detailed information has been obtained from predators, more than 80% of bustards die during the first year of life, and many become victims of predators. Chickens can be predated by the fact that they are land birds that want to fly. Predators of eggs and chicks include lizards, corvids, hedgehogs, foxes, badgers ( Meles SSP.), Kunitz ( Martes SSP.), Rats ( Rattus subspecies.) and wild boars ( Sus scrofa ) The most serious natural predators of nests, possibly red foxes and black crow ( Corvus cornix ) The chicks grow very quickly, at 6 months being almost two-thirds of their adult size, and eaten by foxes, lynxes, wolves ( Canis lupus ), dogs, jackals and eagles. Bustard of unspecified age and gender was found among the eagle owl ( Bubo bubo ) production remains in Bulgaria. The bold, conspicuous breeding behavior of an adult male bustard can attract the same large predator that is preceded by a chicken, such as wolves and lynxes, while a more inconspicuous woman can sometimes be attacked by large eagles. However, predation is rare for adults because of their size, dexterity and safety in numbers due to their social behavior.

Sometimes, other natural causes can contribute to mortality in species, especially starvation in the harsh winter months. However, the main causes of mortality in recent centuries have been mainly related to human activities, as described below.

Population distribution

In 2008, the world population numbered from 44,000 to 51,000 birds (Palacin and Alonso 2008), about 38,000 to 47,000 in Europe, with 30,000 or more than half in Spain. Hungary was the next largest bustard in terms of population from around 1555 in 2012, followed by Ukraine and Austria. Between 4200 and 4500 were found in East Asia. Recently, there has been a sharp decline throughout Eastern and Central Europe and in Asia, especially in Kazakhstan and Mongolia.

Range (2008)
RelativesAfghanistan, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan
regionally extinctAlgeria, Lithuania, Myanmar, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland
trampAlbania, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, Gibraltar, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia
Presence of uncertaintyLebanon, Pakistan

Large populations exist in Spain (23,055 birds), Russia (8,000 birds), Turkey (800-3,000 birds), Portugal (1,435 birds) and Mongolia (1,000 birds). In Germany and Austria, the population is small (Germany 2016: 232 birds, Austria 2012: 335 birds), but they have been growing steadily for two decades. In other countries, the population is declining due to habitat loss throughout its range. A significant population also exists in Hungary (1100–1300 birds), where the Eastern European steppe zone ends near the town of Davavania, as well as in the Hortobadite National Park, Nagykunság and Nagy-Sárrét regions. The population compared to the population of 10,000-12,000 before World War II.

The agrienvironment scheme as non-irrigated legumes contributed to an increase in the bustard population in Castile and Leon, central Spain.

Threats and environmental status

Bustards are classified as vulnerable at the species level. There are many threats that bustards face. Increased human intervention can lead to loss of habitat caused by plowing of meadows, intensive agriculture, afforestation, increased development of irrigation and construction of roads, power lines, fences and ditches. Mechanization, chemical fertilizers and pesticides, fire and predation of dogs are serious threats to chickens and adolescents, as well as hunting for adults, contributing to high mortality in some of their range countries. Agricultural activity is a major breach in the nest, and in Hungary, several successful nests are outside protected areas.

Bustard, despite their large size, can fly at high speed and are often mutilated or killed by overhead power lines, which are located in the Western Pannonia region of Eastern Austria and Western Hungary only at their flying altitude. Affected electricity companies buried part of the hazardous cables and marked the remaining aboveground part with fluorescent markers to scare away the bird. These measures quickly reduced bustard mortality. Bustards are also sometimes killed as a result of collisions with cars or by tangling in wires.

Bustard was previously native to Britain and the bustard is part of the Wiltshire coat of arms design and as supporters for Cambridgeshire weapons. As early as 1797, Thomas Buick, a naturalist and woodcutter, noted in his Stories of british birds that “And this bustard and bustard eats well, and it would be nice to extinguish the problems of domestication, in fact, it seems surprising that we have to suffer these beautiful birds in danger of extinction, although, if properly cultivated, they can afford how a great treat, like our own poultry, or even like Turkey, for which we owe to distant lands. " Bewick's prediction was correct; a great bustard was hunted out of existence in Britain in the 1840s.

In 2004, a reintroduction surveillance project in Salisbury in Wiltshire, using eggs taken from Saratov in Russia, was conducted by the Great Bustard Group, a UK-registered charity that aims to create a self-sustaining bustard population in the UK. In a reintroduced bird, she laid her eggs and raised a chick in the UK in 2009 and 2010. Although the bustard was once home to Britain, large bustards are considered alien species in accordance with English law. The reintroduction of bustard to the Great Bustard group in the UK is conducted in parallel with researchers from Bath University, who provide an understanding of the habitat of large indigenous bustard populations in Russia and Hungary. On January 19, 2011, it was announced that the bustard project was awarded EU LIFE + funding, reportedly worth £ 1,800,000. In Hungary, where the species is a national bird, bustards are actively protected. The Hungarian authorities are striving to preserve the long-term future of the population of active protection measures, the area affected by special environmental treatment has grown to 15 km 2 (5.8 square miles) by the summer of 2006.

Under the auspices of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), also known as the Bonn Convention, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the conservation and management of Middle European bustard populations was concluded and entered into force on June 1, 2001. WE provide the basis for governments, scientists , environmental authorities and others to monitor and coordinate conservation efforts in order to protect the average European bustard population.