Otis tarda 

Scope: Europe
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Otidiformes Otididae

Scientific Name: Otis tarda Linnaeus, 1758
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Great Bustard
Spanish Avutarda, Avutarda Común
Taxonomic Source(s): Cramp, S. and Simmons, K.E.L. (eds). 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Taxonomic Notes:
Identification information: 75-105 cm. Large, grey-and-brown bustard. Grey head and neck, brown barred black above. White underparts with reddish-brown breast-band, developing with age in males. Males significantly larger than females and develop a gular pouch and long white whiskers during the breeding season. Upright stance and deliberate walk. In flight, powerful regular wing beats resemble an eagle, but does not glide. Voice Displaying males make hollow umb sound. Alarm call a short, nasal bark. Young birds have a soft, trilling call.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern (Regional assessment) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-03-31
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ashpole, J, Burfield, I., Ieronymidou, C., Pople, R., Wheatley, H. & Wright, L
European regional assessment: Least Concern (LC)
EU27 regional assessment: Least Concern (LC)

In Europe this species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence 10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (30% decline over ten years or three generations). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern in Europe.

Within the EU27 this species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence 10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (30% decline over ten years or three generations). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern in the EU27.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

Countries occurrence:
Armenia; Austria; Azerbaijan; Bulgaria; Croatia; Czech Republic; Georgia; Germany; Greece; Hungary; Italy; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Moldova; Montenegro; Portugal; Romania; Russian Federation (European Russia); Serbia; Slovakia; Spain; Turkey; Ukraine
Regionally extinct:
Belarus; Poland
Albania; Belgium; Cyprus; Denmark; Finland; Gibraltar; Ireland; Latvia; Luxembourg; Malta; Netherlands
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:1230000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):YesExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:11-100Continuing decline in number of locations:Yes
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Range Map:22691900-1

Population [top]

Population:The European population is estimated at 17,100-20,800 males, which equates to 34,200-41,500 mature individuals. The population in the EU27 is estimated at 15,100-18,000 males, which equates to 30,300-36,100 mature individuals. For details of national estimates, see the Supplementary Material.

Trend Justification:  In Europe the population size is estimated to be decreasing by less than 25% in 30 years (three generations). In the EU27 the population size is estimated to be increasing. For details of national estimates, see attached PDF.
For further information about this species, see 22691900_otis_tarda.pdf.
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Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:34200-41500,37700Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
No. of subpopulations:2-100Continuing decline in subpopulations:Yes
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The species occurs in open, flat, undulating short-grass plains, usually clear of trees, although it uses cork oak (Quercus suber) ?savanna? and olive groves in SW Iberia. A high diversity of low-intensity land-use and lack of disturbance are generally important for year round needs (Collar & Garcia 2013). Nest sites are selected in fallow or cereal fields (primarily alfalfa in central Europe) in areas of low patch-type diversity, far from human infrastructure and with good horizontal visibility (Magaña et al. 2010). Females mate with males on lekking grounds (Tucker and Heath 1994) then incubate a clutch of two to three eggs. It nests with or without a scrape, occasionally with fragments of grass stems and crop stems as lining. The diet consists principally of plant material and invertebrates, although small mammals, amphibians and nestling birds are sometimes taken. In Europe the species is generally sedentary but can be dispersive in Iberia, central and eastern Europe to the Ukraine depending on weather, age and sex (Collar and Garcia 2013).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):14.8
Movement patterns:Full Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Key threats are increased habitat degradation, fragmentation and loss due to agricultural intensification, land-use changes and infrastructure development which has the potential to increase following land privatisation in eastern Europe (S. Nagy in litt. 1999, 2007, Nagy 2009). Habitat loss and fragmentation continues as a result of ploughing of grasslands, intensive grazing, afforestation and increasing development of irrigation schemes, roads, power-lines, fencing and ditches. Mechanisation, chemical fertilisers, pesticides, fire and predation all contribute to high mortality in eggs, chicks, juveniles and incubating females (Nagy 2009). Hunting is a major threat in Turkey and Ukraine (Y. Andryucshenko in litt. 1999, P. Goriup in litt. 2007). Collision with power lines (J. C. Alonso in litt. 2007, Nagy 2009, M. Kessler in litt. 2012) and wind turbines are also significant threats (S. Nagy in litt. 2012).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II, CMS Appendix I and II and CMS MoU in place since 2002. EU Birds Directive Annex I, Bern Convention Annex II (S. Nagy in litt. 1999, 2007, P. Goriup in litt. 2007). A European action plan was published in 1996 and updated in 2009 (Nagy 2009). Agri-environmental and land management programmes have been (successfully) implemented in Spain, Portugal, Austria, Hungary, Germany and Serbia. Artificial incubation and chick rearing projects have been established in Germany and Hungary since the 1970s. A UK reintroduction project began in 2003 with chicks imported from the Russian Federation (Dawes 2008) that has established a small population, although continued monitoring and supplementing is still needed (Burnside et al. 2012). A LIFE Nature project for the species was implemented in Hungary during 2004-2008 with the aim of increasing in-situ protection of the species (Bankovics and Lóránt 2008). Other LIFE projects for the species have been implemented in Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria and Slovakia.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct nationwide surveys in countries with currently low quality estimates, to confirm worldwide numbers and trends. Research the limiting population factors and the wintering distribution in Russia and Ukraine. Protect and manage breeding and wintering areas. Implement agri-environment measures for low-intensity farming. Prevent steppe fires, illegal hunting and collision with powerlines. Raise public awareness.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2015. Otis tarda. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T22691900A60012031. . Downloaded on 15 October 2018.
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