July 19, 2016 – Great Bustard (Otis tarda)

Requested by: @lightlaurein

These large bustards are found in open areas across Eurasia and are currently being reintroduced to their former range in the United Kingdom. They are omnivorous, feeding mainly on plants and invertebrates, but also eating small mammals, reptiles, and seeds. One of the largest bustard species, they may be the heaviest flying bird living today. The heaviest recorded Great Bustard was 46 pounds (21 kg). They probably also have the largest size difference between males and females of any bird, with the males being up to twice the size of the females. During the mating season, males gather in display areas, turning up their wings and tails to show their white feathers and inflating the pouches on the front of their throats in elaborate mating displays. Females lay their eggs on the ground in thick vegetation and incubate the eggs and care for the chicks alone. They are classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN due to habitat destruction, fertilizers and pesticides, predation of young birds, and hunting.


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