New phase for the Great Bustard reintroduction

A scheme to bring the Giant Bustard back to Salisbury Plain is being extended. New plans to increase numbers will bring in young chicks from Spain. The Spanish birds are more like the extinct Wiltshire variety than the Russian ones used during the trial.

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Scheme to bring Bustards to Salisbury Plain extended

Scheme to bring Bustards to Salisbury Plain extended Credit: ITV News West Country

A scheme to bring a giant bird back to Salisbury Plain is being extended. The ten-year trial to reintroduce Great Bustard chicks is now over, with 20 of them thriving. Now the team plans to increase numbers by bringing in young from Spain. The Spanish birds are more like the extinct Wiltshire variety than the Russian ones used during the trial.

Spain has the largest Great Bustard population in the world. It has about half the world's Great Bustards. We're actually able to go there and collect eggs, not wait for the tractor to destroy the nest and so on. So in this our first year working from Spain we've been able to rear 33 chicks.

– David Waters, Director, Great Bustard Group

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Bird droppings study to help Great Bustards

Scientists at Bath University are studying the droppings of Great Bustards to help boost their survival in a conservation project.

The world's largest flying birds have been reintroduced from Russia to Salisbury Plain. Researchers are collecting droppings to monitor how diet changes during the year.

Great Bustards are the world's largest flying birds Credit: John Burnside
Scott Gooch studies Bustard droppings under the microscope Credit: Nic Delves-Broughton, University of Bath

Great Bustard chicks hatch in Wiltshire

The Great Bustard had been extinct for over 70 years before being reintroduced to Salisbury Plain in 2004. Credit: ITV West

Five Great Bustard chicks have hatched in Wiltshire after their eggs were flown over from Russia.

The breed had been extinct for over 70 years before being reintroduced to Salisbury Plain in 2004.

Since then more than a hundred birds have been released in the UK by the Great Bustard Group, with another shipment planned later this year.

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