Today I am going to talk to you about the giant of the Spanish cereal steppes. The Great Bustard.
The Great Bustard are large birds belonging to the Otidae family and it is the only representative of the Otis genus. It is known by the scientific name of Otis tarda. There are two recognized subspecies, Otis takes lateOtis tarda tarda, which is distributed in Europe, North Africa and West Asia. The other subspecies is the Otis tarda dybowskii, which are the specimens from East Asia.
The populations of Africa and Europe are sedentary while the Asian ones migrate from the north to the south to spend winter.
Although they are a species considered as residents, it is true that they carry out stationary movements of quite a distance related to the seasons of the year, with females being the ones that carry out this type of movement the most. In any case, it is a gregarious Bird.
Flock of male Great Bustard in spring.
Macho de avutarda común en
Male Great Bustard in breeding plumage.
Son aves muy corpulentas y
pesadas que les gusta pasearse por los campos cerealistas de nuestro
territorio. Existe mucha diferencia entre los machos y las hembras en cuanto al
tamaño y su peso.
Male bustard in nuptial plumage. They are very stout and heavy Birds that like to walk through the cereal fields of our territory. There is a lot of difference between males and females in terms of size and weight.
Los machos pueden alcanzar una
altura de 90 a 105 centímetros y una envergadura de 2,1 a 2,7 metros. Su peso
oscila de 9,5 a 16 kilogramos, aunque el récord en España lo ostenta un macho
que llegó a pesar 19 kilogramos. Por ello la convierte en una de las aves
voladoras más pesadas del mundo.
Males can reach a height of 90 to 105 centimeters and a wingspan of 2.1 to 2.7 meters. Their weight ranges from 9.5 to 16 kilograms, although the record in Spain is held by a male who weighed 19 kilograms. For this reason, it makes it one of the heaviest flying birds in the world.
Además de su tamaño, el macho se
diferencia de la hembra por tener un tono más vivo en el dorso de castaños y
dorados. Además, el macho en plumaje nupcial presenta unas plumas largas,
apuntadas y rígidas que le nacen de la mandíbula inferior.
In addition to its size, male differs from female by having a brighter tone on the back of chestnut and gold. In addition, the male in breeding plumage has long, pointed and rigid feathers that are born from the lower jaw.
Detail of the male's head with its whiskers.
Females are noticeably smaller, one third in relation to the males, measuring 75 to 85 centimeters high and a wingspan of 180 centimeters. Their average weight is 3.1 to 8 kilograms.
Less conspicuous female bustard than male.
Carece de los bigotes que el macho desarrolla en plumaje nupcial y su color es más apagado.
She lacks the whiskers that male develops in breeding plumage and its color is duller.
In this shot you can see the difference in size between male and he female.
Their diet is based on vegetables and invertebrates, the latter being their favorite diet in spring and early summer where grasshoppers and crickets are eagerly eaten. Occasionally they do not rule out some vertebrates such as small rodents and lizards. During winter, legumes acquire their main source of food.
It always amazes me how well these heavy birds fly. As their wingspan is not very large and their weight is high, to take flight they need to take a few steps, flapping strongly to take off.
A flock taking off.
Un gran macho en Vuelo.
A big male in flight.
El periodo reproductor comienza a mediados de marzo y se extiende hasta junio. Los machos ya comienzan a cambiar su plumaje de invierno a nupcial a mediados de enero y en este tiempo comienzan a luchar para determinar quién ocupara los lugares más vistosos para realizar la parada nupcial que se la llama rueda.
Their breeding period begins in mid-March and lasts until June. Males already begin to change their plumage from winter tobreeding in mid-January and at this time they begin to fight to determine who will occupy the breter places to make the beeding display called "la rueda".
During this time males strut around with their tails raised and with their breeding plumage which is very beautiful.
Some males strutting.
Espero que os haya gustado y hasta pronto.