Chordates • Earth.com

Great bustard

(Otis tarda)

galery

Description

The great bustard (Otis tarda) is a bird in the bustard family,the only member of the genus Otis.It breeds in open grassland and farmland in southern and central Europe,and across temperate Asia.European populations are mainly resident,but Asian birds move further south in winter.Portugal and Spain now contain about 60% of the world's population.It became extinct in Great Britain when the last bird was shot in 1832.Recent attempts to reintroduce it into the UK have met with limited success and there is a population of 40 birds on Salisbury plain (a UK Army training area).Here the lack of public access allows them the freedom needed as a large ground nesting bird.It is classified by the IUCN aThe huge adult male great bustard is possibly the heaviest living flying animal.It is also arguably the most sexual dimorphic extant bird species,in terms of the size difference between males and females.Going on mass,the only known bird with a higher dimorphism is the green peafowl (Pavo muticus) as the males are apparently near four times as heavy as the female.Among both bustards and all living birds,the upper reported mass of this species is rivaled by that of the kori bustard (Ardeotis kori),which,due to its relatively longer tarsi and tail,is both longer and taller on average and is less sexually dimorphic.In terms of weight ranges reported,the great Indian bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps) also only lags slightly behind these species.A male is typically 90–105 cm (2 ft 11 in–3 ft 5 in) tall,with a length of around 115 cm (3 ft 9 in) and has a 2.1–2.7 m (6 ft 11 in–8 ft 10 in) wingspan.The male can range in weight from 5.8 to 18 kg (13 to 40 lb).Average male weights as reported have been fairly variable: in Russia,males weighed a median of 9.2 kg (20 lb);in Spain,males weighed a mean of 9.82 kg (21.6 lb) during breeding season and 10.62 kg (23.4 lb) during non-breeding;in Germany,males weighed a mean of 11.97 kg (26.4 lb);and the Guinness World Records has indicated that prior to their extirpation male bustards in Great Britain weighed an average of 13.5 kg (30 lb).In a study in Spain,one male weighed as much as 19 kg (42 lb).The heaviest verified specimen,collected in Manchuria,was about 21 kg (46 lb).Larger specimens have been reported but remain "vulnerable".

Taxonomic tree:

Domain:
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum:
Class: Aves
Order:Otidiformes
Family:Otididae
Genus:Otis
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