• Sourcing the birds
  • Sightings
  • Sightings

    Have you seen a Great Bustard? We’d like to know!

    Please note: It would be appreciated if people did not approach the birds and flush them. They use a lot of energy to take off and fly which then means they need to find and eat a lot of food. During winter that isn’t always easy.

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      Wing tag/leg ring colour & number



      We would be interested to hear about all your bustard sightings, ambulance including as much detail as possible.

      Please use the form to tell us your name and full contact details, diagnosis as well as the date, hospital time, location (including a grid reference if possible), wing tag colour and number (if you were able to see it) and habitat (what was the vegetation like?).

      Your sighting will be fully credited, and if you do see a wing tag we will be able to tell you about the history of the bird you saw. If you have a photograph that you would like to send, please let us know.


      Not sure if it was a Great Bustard?

      Compare your sighting with the following checklist.

      Key identification characters

      • Most released Great Bustards have coloured wingtags with identification numbers.
      • Rarely seen up-close. Very shy and wary nature, will often withdraw into tall vegetation but never into bushes or trees. Normally seen in open ground such as large fields or parkland, never in gardens or particularly close to human habitation and roads.
      • Body is large and robust with brown and black plumage on the back. Underneath, feathers are white and has very long legs. Neck is long and light grey in colour. Stands up to 1 m (3 ft) tall. Tail often cocked (as GBG logo).
      • Comparison:
        Goose – Shape is similar, but bigger with considerably longer legs and a straighter neck.
        Pheasant – Much larger and taller than pheasant with longer (grey) neck and legs, and lacking the long tail.
      • Unable to perch, so only ever seen on the ground.
      • Rarely observed flying. Flight action regular and uninterrupted, never glides, beats slow and majestic, but progress is rapid. Wings long and deeply ‘fingered’ appearing mostly white.
      • Silent, unless accidentally flushed at very close range when nasal bark might be heard.