Great Bustards News Update

Great Bustards Update

Great Bustards were reintroduced back to the UK in 2004 when the present Great Bustard Group released birds from Russia onto Salisbury Plain.
Since then, Great Bustards have been released every year.

As with all reintroductions, there have been highs and lows with the best ‘high’ being in 2009 when we had the first chicks in 177 years to hatch wild in the UK. Each year since, there have been wild hatched chicks with varying success of survival. 2012 saw another first for the Group having been granted permission to bring eggs as well as chicks from Russia.
Six eggs were brought across by David Waters, Director of GBG, and incubated here. All six eggs hatched, but one chick died through complications of hatching. The other five birds are doing well and are at our release site along with older birds from three different years of release.

During the first year of releases, two birds flew to France. One we know collided with a power line, the other just went missing. As far as we know, no other birds have attempted the crossing to Europe, until December 2011 when a young female made the journey and came back to the UK in June 2012. Autumn and winter last year saw another three birds head to France. One is back, one died after hitting a power line and the other is strutting around the oil seed rape fields of France.
The birds are seen out and about in Wiltshire, Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire and Oxfordshire to name but a few places. None of our birds have transmitters on so we rely on the general public to contact us if they think they have seen a Great Bustard. Just a note that they will never be seen in trees or on fence posts as they only have three forward facing toes, they haven’t a fourth toe at the back with which to perch.

If you would like more information, come and visit the site, or purchase a gift visit voucher, contact Lynne, Visits Manager, 07817971327 or email
To report a sighting, either phone 01980 671466 or fill out the ‘Report a Sighting’ form on our website


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