Rarer than Snow Leopards

Posted on Thursday, June 1st, 2017

Global Experts Fly In To Save Big Bird

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia: 31 May 2017. Great Bustard experts from across the globe met in Ulaanbaatar from 24-30th May to plan the conservation of the Great Bustard in Asia. The Great Bustard is the heaviest bird capable of flight. Asian Great Bustards are rarer than snow leopards. The conference hosted experts from 9 countries, including China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, United Kingdom and USA, and included contributions from Iran and Turkmenistan.

Western European Great Bustard populations are now either stable or increasing but in the east there is conservation concern as the numbers decline. The conference concentrated on identifying the threats to the birds at different times of the year in breeding, stopover, and wintering sites, and on international cooperation to remove or reduce these threats. Major threats to the species in Asia are illegal hunting and poisoning for meat, and loss of habitat in certain areas.

The conference was supported by the Mongolian government and organized by the Wildlife Science and Conservation Center of Mongolia and the Eurasian Bustard Alliance. 

The conference was also attended by Dr. Borja Heredia, a senior representative from the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), an international agreement administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment). The Great Bustards cross international boundaries during their migration and coordination of conservation measures between countries is needed to be effective. 

Dr Nyambayar Batbayar, Director, Wildlife Science and Conservation Centre of Mongolia
“We hope conference has been a big step in preserving the Great Bustard in Asia. The migratory behaviour of the bird was reflected in the international nature of the conference – many nations working together”

Dr Mimi Kessler, Director, Eurasian Great Bustard Alliance
“The Great Bustards move from one country to another, so coordinated international conservation efforts are essential alongside local measures.”

Dr Borja Heredia, Head of Avian Unit, Convention on Migratory Species
“This meeting is a milestone to initiate a process of cooperation and coordination for the conservation of a severely threatened species.”

Great Bustard fact file

The Great Bustard is the heaviest flying bird in the world, and males can weigh more than 20 kg. The species lives across the northern hemisphere from Eastern China through to Western Europe. The eastern race of the species is migratory and moves south for the winter, sometimes moving over 2000 km. The male is much larger than the female, sometimes four times heavier, but the female does all the incubation and rears the chicks herself.
The Asian population has declined in recent years and it is now thought there are less than 2500 individual birds left. The reasons for the decline include illegal hunting, changes in agriculture and the dangers of electric power lines. 

National Names:
English – Great Bustard 
Mongolian – Honin Toodog
Chinese – Da Bao
Russian – Bol’shaya Drofa


Great Bustard (Otis tarda) – A male Asian Great Bustard in Mongolian grassland

– B. Nyambayar, Director of the Wildlife Science and Conservation Center of Mongolia, conference organizer.

– David Waters in Mongolia

Conference Brochure

Great Bustard brochure October 2016_EN

Further information can be found at:
or via the contacts below.

Dr Nyambayar Batbayar, Wildlife Science and Conservation Centre of Mongolia
Email: nyambayar@wscc.org.mn
Telephone +976-99257886

Dr Borja Heredia, CMS
Email: borja.heredia@cms.int
Telephone: +492288152422

Dr Mimi Kessler, Eurasian Bustard Alliance

Categories: Great Bustards


Posted by Paul

Comments are closed.