The Great Bustard is Back
After 170 years of absence, the great bustard – the heaviest known flying bird in the world – is back on British shores. The bird has been re-introduced to the British Isles almost two centuries after its population here was wiped out, by using chicks from Russia. Male great bustards have to be around four years old before they can breed, and now the pairs introduced to Britain are ready to do so. The birds can grow to 3.5ft tall with a wingspan of eight feet, and used to be common across the plains of northern Europe, but went into decline in the 18th century. By 1832 there were none left in the UK. The Great Bustard Group, set up in 2004, decided to rectify that by re-introducing them to the Salisbury Plain and it is now believed that there are up to 8 pairs in the British wild now.