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Great Bustard lays eggs

A Great Bustard, a bird which has been extinct in the British Isles since 1832, has laid two eggs on Salisbury plain - how is this possible?

It is all thanks to the work of David Waters, a retired policeman, and director of the Great Bustard Group who has successfully re-introduced the Great Bustard to England using chicks imported from Russia. The Great Bustard chicks from Russia are raised from eggs rescued from nests that otherwise would be destroyed by cultivation.

Two eggs were laid at location on Salisbury Plain, England, which is being kept secret to deter egg thieves. The Great Bustard eggs were laid in the Spring of this year (2007).

The Great Bustard eggs, which have since proved infertile, were unexpected as the Great Bustards young that had been released on Salisbury Plain in 2005 and 2006 are not yet of viable breeding age. Fertile eggs are hoped for in the next two years when the Great Bustards reach maturity at five years old.

The Great Bustard was hunted to extinction in Victorian times by sportsmen and predators (foxes). It is hoped with the good work of David Waters and the GBG that the Great Bustard will be successfully re-introduced to the United Kingdom over the coming years.

pewit great bustard lays two eggs on salisbury plain

Female Great Bustard at nest with two eggs. Photo Copyright: IUCN Bustard Specialist Group.

Great Bustard Group Homepage

Great Bustard Facts

The Great Bustard is the heaviest flying bird in the world.
The Great Bustard at maturity can weigh up to 30lb.
The Great Bustard when fully grown stands 4ft tall and has a wingspan of 8ft.
The Great Bustard eats insects, frogs, beetles and other small creatures and cereal seeds.
Great Bustard males attract female Great Bustards by gathering in groups called Leks.
The Great Bustard is the county bird of Wiltshire and forms part of the design of the Wiltshire Coat of Arms.

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