bustard

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bustard

(bŭs`tərd), a heavy-bodied, ground-running bird of the family Otididae. Various species are found throughout the arid regions of Africa, Asia, Australia, and S Europe. Bustards range in length from 14 1-2 to 52 in. (37–132 cm) and include the heaviest birds capable of flight. The great bustard, Otis tarda, of Europe and central Asia, is the largest European land-bird; the adult male may be 4 ft (10.2 m) long with an 8-ft (20.3-m) wingspan and may weigh 30 lb (13.6 kg) or more. The kori bustard, Ardeotis kori, found in Africa, is slightly larger on average. The great Indian bustard, A. nigriceps, which is a little smaller, is now endangered.

Bustards are stocky birds with long necks and strong legs; their feet are built for running, with flat toes, broad soles, and no hind toe. The species vary in color from gray to brown, and many are spotted or barred above and white, buff, or black below. Bustards live mainly on grassy plains or in brushlands. Although they are strong fliers, they seldom leave the ground. They wander about in flocks of a dozen or more birds, feeding on leaves, seeds, and insects, especially beetles. The males are polygamous and fight fiercely during the breeding season. The female lays and incubates from one to five eggs, according to the species; the chicks are able to fly at the age of six weeks.

Bustards have been extensively hunted for food; they are extinct in Britain and are becoming scarce in the northern part of their range. The more than two dozen species are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Gruiformes, family Otididae.

bustard

any terrestrial bird of the family Otididae, inhabiting open regions of the Old World: order Gruiformes (cranes, rails, etc.). They have long strong legs, a heavy body, a long neck, and speckled plumage
References in periodicals archive ?
Nineteen Russian great bustards were freed on Salisbury Plain yesterday as a 10-year project to reintroduce them into the wilds of Britain reaches the half-way point.
Former police officer David Waters from Wiltshire, who has already invested pounds 40,000 in the project, is planning to bring Great Bustard chicks from the Saratov region of Russia to the UK where they will be taken to Salisbury Plain for rearing and eventual release.
Objectives: The LIFE+ project will increase the population of great bustards on Salisbury Plain by extending the reintroduction programme to support the establishment of a self-sustaining population over the longer term.
Great bustards figure in the coats of arms of both Wiltshire and Cambridgeshire, a sure sign that they were once very familiar everyday birds.
GREAT bustards, the world's heaviest flying bird, have been sighted in Dorset for the first time in more than 170 years.
The return to the UK of the Great Bustard, the world's heaviest flying bird, came after a 172-year absence.
If they are, the gun toting members of the Windsor family will ensure that the great bustards will, once again, become extinct in our country
Great bustards are omnivorous and include seeds, insects, moles and rats in their diet.
Interestingly the most intensively-farmed area, along the Danube basin, is also home to an amazing range of bird life, great bustards and storks, herons and sea eagles among them - so much for the simplistic cant too often trotted out in Britain about intensive farming destroying biodiversity