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Great Bustard Project, Salisbury Plain


For anyone who wants to see Great bustards in the wild in the UK, the Great bustard project offers guided tours of the release site. The tours cost £10 and MUST be booked in advance.

For more details, click here to go to the project website.

Bookings: Call 07817 971 327 or email visit@greatbustard.com

The Great Bustard
The Great Bustard is the world’s heaviest flying bird with old male birds regularly reported weighing as much as 20 kg. However, it is only the males that attain such huge proportions outgrowing females by up to 50 %, to stand over a metre tall with a wing-span of 260 cm. They are highly gregarious birds that form social units termed ‘droves’ although males and females will often group into separate droves.

Their great difference in size means that females are easily bullied, especially when feeding. As a result, males and females tend to live very independently only coming together at breeding time. The incubation and rearing of chicks is carried out by the female alone and the young birds will stay with the females for at least the first winter.

Great bustards in the UK - News

Other wildlife at the site.

The bustards are the main highlight, but not the only one. Part of the enclosure is managed for stone curlews, as is some of the surrounding pasture land too. And it seems to work as we did see a pair who were behaving as though they had some eggs very nearby. Even more exciting than the stone curlews was the ‘common’ curlew that had settled in the arable field just opposite the hide. I hadn’t seen one before, but I will remember it.

If you gave a classical sculpture the job of designing a bird of classical proportions and curves, they would come up with a curlew. Stone curlews are ugly, if rare; their eyes are too big, their beak too wide and their legs out of proportion with their body. Curlews have perfect curves, classical proportions and a colour scheme that could have been devised by Corot or Manet. There were also stonechats and a variety of smaller birds, and several hares grazing on the short grass. 

The project is located on the Salisbury Plain, however the exact location of the project is only made public to members and visitors who have booked a visit. The project is not far from Upavon.

Grid reference: SU132548

These maps are intended as a guideline only; you must check the exact location of the reserve yourself. Wildlife Extra assumes no responsibility for the accuracy or usefulness of the information on this website.


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