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Title: Bustard  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Bengal florican, Little bustard, MacQueen's bustard, Denham's bustard, Kori bustard
Collection: Bird Families, Otididae, Serravallian First Appearances
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Temporal range:
Miocene - Holocene, 13–0 Ma
Kori bustard (Ardeotis kori)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
Clade: Dinosauria
Clade: Ornithurae
Clade: Aves
Clade: Otidimorphae
Order: Otidiformes
Wagler, 1830
Family: Otididae
Rafinesque, 1815

See text.

Bustards, including floricans and korhaans, are large and highly terrestrial birds mainly associated with dry open country and steppes in the Old World. They range in length from 40 to 150 cm (16 to 59 in). They make up the family Otididae (formerly known as Otidae). Bustards are omnivorous and opportunistic eating leaves, buds, seeds, fruit, small vertebrates, and invertebrates.[1]


  • Description 1
  • Behaviour and ecology 2
  • Taxonomy 3
  • Status and conservation 4
  • Floricans 5
  • Notes 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Bustards are all fairly large with the two largest species, the kori bustard (Ardeotis kori) and the great bustard (Otis tarda), being frequently cited as the world's heaviest flying birds. In both the largest species, large males exceed a weight 20 kg (44 lb), weigh around 13.5 kg (30 lb) on average and can attain a total length of 150 cm (59 in). The smallest species is the little brown bustard (Eupodotis humilis), which is around 40 cm (16 in) long and weighs around 600 g (1.3 lb) on average. In most bustards, males are substantially larger than females, often about 30% longer and sometimes more than twice the weight. They are among the most sexually dimorphic groups of birds. In only the floricans is the sexual dimorphism reverse, with the adult female being slightly larger and heavier than the male.

The wings have 10 primaries and 16-24 secondary feathers. There are 18-20 feathers in the tail. The plumage is predominantly cryptic.[1]

Behaviour and ecology

Bustards are omnivorous, feeding principally on seeds and invertebrates. They make their nests on the ground, making their eggs and offspring often very vulnerable to predation. They walk steadily on strong legs and big toes, pecking for food as they go. Most prefer to run or walk over flying. They have long broad wings with "fingered" wingtips, and striking patterns in flight. Many have interesting mating displays, such as inflating throat sacs or elevating elaborate feathered crests. The female lays three to five dark, speckled eggs in a scrape in the ground, and incubates them alone.[2]

Flying bustards - Apajpuszta, Hungary

Bustards are gregarious outside the breeding season, but are very wary and difficult to approach in the open habitats they prefer.[3]


Family Otididae

Status and conservation

Most species are declining or endangered through habitat loss and hunting, even where they are nominally protected. The last bustard in Britain died in approximately 1832, but the bird is being reintroduced through batches of chicks imported from Russia.[3]

In 2009, two great bustard chicks were hatched in Britain for the first time in more than 170 years.[5] Reintroduced bustard also hatched chicks in 2010.[6]


Some Indian bustards are also called Floricans. The origin of the name is unclear. Thomas C. Jerdon writes in The Birds of India (1862)

The Hobson-Jobson dictionary however casts doubt on this theory stating that


  1. ^ a b del Hoyo, J. Elliott, A. & Sargatal, J. (editors). (1996) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 3: Hoatzin to Auks. Lynx Edicions. ISBN 84-87334-20-2
  2. ^ Archibald, George W. (1991). Forshaw, Joseph, ed. Encyclopaedia of Animals: Birds. London: Merehurst Press. pp. 98–99.  
  3. ^ a b Bota, G., J. Camprodon, S. Mañosa & M.B. Morales (Editores). (2005). Ecology and Conservation of steppe-land birds. Lynx Editions. Barcelona ISBN 84-87334-99-7; 978-84-87334-99-3.
  4. ^ Macqueen's bustard has recently been split from the Houbara bustard as a full species.
  5. ^ Wildlife Extra 2009. The First Great Bustard chicks hatch in the UK for 177 years Wildlife Extra, June 2009.
  6. ^ Biodiversity Lab 2010. Reintroduced Great Bustards Breed Again The Biodiversity Lab, University of Bath.


  • Bota, Gerard, et al. Ecology and conservation of Steppe-Land birds. International Symposium on Ecology and Conservation of Steppe-land birds. Lynx Edicions 2005. 343 pages. ISBN 84-87334-99-7.
  • Knox, Alan G.; Martin Collinson; Andreas J. Helbig; David T. Parkin; George Sangster (October 2002). "Taxonomic recommendations for British birds". Ibis 144 (4): 707–710.  
  • Sibley, Charles G.; Jon E. Ahlquist (1990). Phylogeny and Classification of the Birds: A Study in Molecular Evolution. New Haven: Yale University Press.  
  • Hackett, SJ; et al. (2008). "A phylogenomic study of birds reveals their evolutionary history". Science 320 (5884): 1763–1768.  
  • Jarvis, Erich D; et al. (2014). "Whole-genome analyses resolve early branches in the tree of life of modern birds". Science 346 (6215): 1320–1331.  
  • IOC

External links

  • Bustard videos on the Internet Bird Collection
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