Great Bustard Otis tarda


Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
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.
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - A3cd+4cd

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2017 Vulnerable A3cd+4cd
2016 Vulnerable A2cd+3cd+4cd
2012 Vulnerable A2cd+3cd+4cd
2008 Vulnerable A2c; A3c; A4c
2004 Vulnerable
2000 Vulnerable
1996 Vulnerable
1994 Vulnerable
1988 Threatened
Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type Land-mass type - continent
Average mass -
Extent of occurrence (EOO)

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 21,700,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 20,100,000 medium
Number of locations 11-100 -
Fragmentation -
Population and trend
Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals medium estimated 2010
Population trend Decreasing poor suspected -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) 30-49 - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) 30-49 - - -
Number of subpopulations 2-100 - - -
Largest subpopulations - - -
Generation length (yrs) 10 - - -

Population justification: Alonso (2014) estimates the global population to number 43,847 – 56,695 individuals, rounded here to 44,000-57,000 individuals.

Trend justification: The species is suspected to have historically undergone a rapid population decline, owing to habitat loss and fragmentation for agricultural intensification, as well as hunting and collision with power lines. There is a lack of accurate data on current trends in several countries with important populations (e.g. parts of Russia, Mongolia, China), although declines have continued in some range states especially in eastern and central Europe, Morocco, as well as throughout the eastern part of the global distribution (Chan and Goroshko 1998, Barati and Amerifar 2008, Palacín and Alonso 2008, Oparin et al. 2013, BirdLife International 2015, Alonso et al. 2016b, M. Karataş in litt. 2016). In other areas (notably Hungary, Germany, Austria and the Iberian Peninsula) the population has been increasing or potentially stable since the 1990s (see Nagy 2009, Martín et al. 2012, BirdLife International 2015, J. Garrido in litt. 2017). Therefore, declines in the recent past are not thought to be significant (see Alonso 2014, Palacín and Alonso 2008, Alonso and Palacín 2010). However, the population in the Iberian Peninsula may now (at least in some local areas) be starting to decline or have very low productivity (J. C. Alonso in litt. 2017, Y. Perlman in litt. 2017). With continued agricultural expansion and climate change likely to impact the species even more into the future, the species is precautionarily considered to be undergoing a moderately rapid decline over a 3 generation period (30 years), which will continue or potentially increase into the future. Should research show the species to be declining at a more moderate rate, it would warrant downlisting to a lower category of threat.

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Afghanistan N Extant Yes
Albania V Extant
Algeria U Extinct
Armenia N Extant Yes
Austria N Extant Yes
Azerbaijan N Possibly Extinct Yes Yes Yes
Belarus N Extinct
Belgium V Extant
Bulgaria N Extant Yes
China (mainland) N Extant Yes Yes Yes Yes
Croatia N Extant Yes
Cyprus V Extant
Czechia N Extant Yes
Denmark V Extant
Egypt V Extant
Finland V Extant
France V Extant Yes
Georgia N Extant Yes Yes
Germany N Extant Yes
Gibraltar (to UK) V Extant
Greece N Extant Yes
Hungary N Extant Yes
Iran, Islamic Republic of N Extant Yes Yes
Iraq N Extant Yes
Ireland V Extant
Israel V Extant Yes
Italy N Extant Yes
Japan V Extant Yes
Kazakhstan N Extant Yes Yes Yes
Kyrgyzstan N Extant Yes Yes Yes
Latvia V Extant
Lebanon V Extant Yes
Luxembourg V Extant
Malta V Extant
Moldova N Extant Yes
Mongolia N Extant Yes Yes
Montenegro N Extant Yes
Morocco N Extant Yes
Myanmar V Extinct
Netherlands V Extant
North Korea V Extant Yes
North Macedonia N Extant Yes
Pakistan V Extant
Poland N Extinct Yes
Portugal N Extant Yes
Romania N Extant Yes
Russia N Extant Yes
Russia (Asian) N Extant Yes
Russia (Central Asian) N Extant Yes
Russia (European) N Extant Yes
Saudi Arabia V Extant Yes
Serbia N Extant Yes Yes
Slovakia N Extant Yes
South Korea V Extant Yes
Spain N Extant Yes
Sweden V Extinct Yes
Switzerland V Extinct Yes
Syria N Extant Yes
Tajikistan N Extant Yes
Tunisia V Extant
Turkey N Extant Yes Yes
Turkmenistan N Extant Yes Yes
Ukraine N Extant Yes Yes
United Kingdom V Extinct
Uzbekistan N Extant Yes Yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Armenia Sardarapat
Austria Austrian part of Hanság
Austria Central Marchfeld
Austria Feuchte Ebene and Rauchwarther Platte
Austria Parndorfer Platte and Heideboden
Austria Western Weinviertel
China (mainland) Altay forest and steppe
China (mainland) Ayding Kol
China (mainland) Barkol Lake and grassland
China (mainland) Bayan Obo Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Baytik Shan
China (mainland) Beidagang
China (mainland) Beidaihe
China (mainland) Binzhou coastal islands
China (mainland) Burgen River Valley
China (mainland) Burqin River and Kanas Lake
China (mainland) Caimushan Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Chagan Hu Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Changdao Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Chen Hu Wetland Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Dabusu Hu
China (mainland) Dalai Nur Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Dali Nur Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Damaoqi
China (mainland) Daqinggou Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Dashanzuizi
China (mainland) Desert and wetland from Northern Urumqi to Dabancheng
China (mainland) Dongting Hu wetlands
China (mainland) Gaoyou Hu
China (mainland) Gongliu spruce forest
China (mainland) Hala Hai
China (mainland) Heiyupao Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Helan Shan Nature Reserve (Ningxia)
China (mainland) Heyang Huang He Wetlands Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Holqin Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Honggolj Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Hongjian Nur
China (mainland) Huihe Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Ili River basin
China (mainland) Jinta
China (mainland) Kaifeng Liuyuankou Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Karamay desert and lakes
China (mainland) Laotieshan
China (mainland) Lianhuanhu Waterbird Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Loess Plateau in western Gansu
China (mainland) Longfeng Wetland Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Longgan Hu Wetland Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Markit-Yarkant Oasis
China (mainland) Melmeg (Momege) Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Mengjin Huanghe Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Minqin
China (mainland) Mori Grassland
China (mainland) Mount Tuomuer Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Nansihu Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Oasis and Desert in Hami
China (mainland) Poyang Hu wetlands
China (mainland) Qapqal grassland and wetland
China (mainland) Qilihai Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Saihan Ul Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Sayram Nur
China (mainland) Shaobo Hu Lake Area
China (mainland) Shengjin Hu Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Shijiu Hu (Anhui)
China (mainland) Sihong Wetland of Hongze Hu
China (mainland) Tacheng (Qoqek) area
China (mainland) Tuanbowa Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Tumuji Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Ulansuhai Nur Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Ulgai
China (mainland) Ulugqat grassland and wetland
China (mainland) Ulungur Hu and Jili Hu (Fu Hai)
China (mainland) Weinan Sanhe wetlands
China (mainland) Xianghai Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Xilin Gol Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Yancheng Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Yaojingzi Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Yellow River Delta Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Yinchuan plain
China (mainland) Yiwulü Shan Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Yubei Huanghe Gudao Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Zhalong Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Zhengzhou Huanghe Wetland Nature Reserve
Germany Fiener Bruch
Germany Hellwegbörde
Germany Oberes Rhinluch / Havelländisches Luch Nauen-Friesack
Germany Plane lowlands
Germany Randow-Welse-Bruch / Uckermärkische Agrarlandschaft
Germany Schorfheide-Chorin
Germany Schwalmaue around Schwalmstadt
Germany Trappenschongebiet Jüterbog
Germany Unteres Rhinluch-Dreetzer See / Havelländisches Luch / Belziger Landschaftswiesen
Germany Zerbster Land
Hungary Alkaline lakes of Kiskunság
Hungary Alkaline pusztas of Upper Kiskunság
Hungary Bihar Plain
Hungary Borsodi-Mezőség
Hungary Ecseg Pusztas of Dévaványa
Hungary Heves Plain
Hungary Hortobágy and Tisza-to
Hungary Moson Plain
Iran, Islamic Republic of Assadabad plain
Iran, Islamic Republic of Dasht-i Gaz
Iran, Islamic Republic of Divandareh/Zarrineh Owbatu
Iran, Islamic Republic of Gordeh Git and Mamiyand
Iran, Islamic Republic of Hashelan marsh and Doh Tappeh plains
Iran, Islamic Republic of Lake Kobi
Iran, Islamic Republic of Lake Uromiyeh
Iran, Islamic Republic of Nowruzlu and Ghazanlu
Iran, Islamic Republic of Plains near Ghorveh
Iran, Islamic Republic of Rud-i Jowin and Rud-i Kalshur
Iran, Islamic Republic of Shirvan area
Iran, Islamic Republic of Shur Gol, Yadegarlu and Dorgeh Sangi lakes
Iran, Islamic Republic of Tayebad plains at Ghoomi and Sarhad
Iran, Islamic Republic of Telesm plain
Kazakhstan Aksu-Dzhabagly State Nature Reserve
Kazakhstan Arystandy
Kazakhstan Irgiz-Turgay Lakes
Kazakhstan Tentek River Delta
Kazakhstan Zhusandala
Mongolia Achit Lake
Mongolia Airkhan Lake
Mongolia Buir Lake
Mongolia Bulgan Tal
Mongolia Darkhad Depression
Mongolia Dashinchilen Bayan Lake
Mongolia Delta of Orkhon and Selenge Rivers
Mongolia Erkhel Lake
Mongolia Ganga Lakes
Mongolia Khar Yamaat Nature Reserve
Mongolia Khovsgol Lake
Mongolia Khovsgoliin Sangiin Dalai Lake
Mongolia Khukh Lake
Mongolia Khustain Nuruu National Park
Mongolia Mongol Daguur
Mongolia Nomrog
Mongolia Ogii Lake
Mongolia Onon-Balj
Mongolia Selenge - Teel
Mongolia Selengiin Tsagaan Lake
Mongolia Tarialan
Mongolia Tashgain Tavan Lakes
Mongolia Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake
Mongolia Teshigiin Olon Lakes
Mongolia Tsengeleg Lakes
Mongolia Turgen Tsagaan, Zegst, Tuulaitiyn Burd Lakes
Mongolia Ugtam Nature Reserve
Mongolia Ulaagchinii Khar Lake
Mongolia Ulziitiin Sangiin Dalai Lake
Mongolia Uvs Lake
Mongolia Valleys of Khurkh-Khuiten Rivers
Morocco Oued Tahadart
North Korea Chongchon River estuary (including Mundok Nature Reserve)
North Korea Daedong Bay
North Korea Lake Bujon
North Korea Onchon field
Portugal Alter do Chão
Portugal Campo Maior
Portugal Castro Verde plains
Portugal Cuba
Portugal Évora plains
Portugal Monforte plains
Portugal Mourão, Moura e Barrancos
Portugal Serra de Penha Garcia e Campina de Toulões
Portugal Vila Fernando
Russia (Asian) Agar-Dag
Russia (Asian) Aginskiye lakes
Russia (Asian) Amur valley near Blagoveshensk
Russia (Asian) Argun' river
Russia (Asian) Bain-Tsaganskiye lakes
Russia (Asian) Balaganskaya steppe
Russia (Asian) Belozersk lakes
Russia (Asian) Middle Onon
Russia (Asian) Oruku-Shina
Russia (Asian) Tere-Khol' lake
Russia (Asian) Torey lakes
Russia (Asian) Tunkin valley
Russia (Asian) Urul'guveem hollow
Russia (Asian) Valley of Barguzin
Russia (Central Asian) Sources of the Bolshaya Karaganka and Syntasty rivers
Russia (European) Balka Yablonya
Russia (European) Dadynskiye lakes
Russia (European) Drofiny area
Russia (European) Dudarevskaya steppe
Russia (European) Estonka site
Russia (European) Fields near village Voskresenk
Russia (European) Irgaklinski forest
Russia (European) Islands in the western part of Lake Manych-Gudilo
Russia (European) Kholmanskiye feathergrass steppes
Russia (European) Kumysni pond site
Russia (European) Kurnikov liman
Russia (European) Outskirts of Arbali village
Russia (European) Outskirts of village Il'inka
Russia (European) Outskirts of village Lepekhinka
Russia (European) Outskirts of village Pervomaiskoye
Russia (European) Outskirts of village Rekord
Russia (European) Outskirts of village Timofeevo
Russia (European) Rovno area
Russia (European) Shcherbakovskaya bend of Volga river
Russia (European) Siniye mountains
Russia (European) Steppes in the vicinity of Zeleni Dol village
Russia (European) Tazhinski liman
Russia (European) Valley of Safarovka river
Russia (European) Veselovskoye reservoir
Russia (European) Vicinity of Borisoglebovka (Saratovski [Semenovski] Reserve)
Russia (European) Vicinity of Eruslan village
Russia (European) Vicinity of Poltavka village
Russia (European) Vicinity of Voznesensk village
Russia (European) Vorono-Khoperski area
Russia (European) Yasnaya Polyana site
Russia (European) Yeiski salt-lakes
Russia (European) Zhestyanka
Russia (European) Zolotarevskaya area
Serbia Pašnjaci Velike Droplje
Slovakia Syslovské fields
Spain Alange
Spain Albacete - Barrax - La Roda
Spain Alcántara reservoir-Cuatro Lugares
Spain Alcarria de Alcalá steppes
Spain Alto Guadiato
Spain Altos de Barahona high moor
Spain Azuaga-Llerena-Peraleda de Zaucejo
Spain Baja Alcarria
Spain Belver de los Montes-Gallegos del Pan
Spain Bienvenida-Usagre-Ribera del Fresno
Spain Borbollón reservoir
Spain Botoa-Villar del Rey
Spain Brozas-Membrío
Spain Campo de Calatrava
Spain Campo de Montiel
Spain Carmona countryside
Spain Carrión-Frómista
Spain Cerrato high moor
Spain Condado-Campiña
Spain Córdoba countryside
Spain Cortados del Jarama
Spain Don Benito-Guareña
Spain Ecija-Osuna plain
Spain Esla dam
Spain Fuente de Cantos-Montemolín
Spain Fuentelapeña-Jambrina
Spain Gallocanta lake
Spain La Manchuela Conquense
Spain La Serena
Spain Layna high moors
Spain Los Monegros (South)
Spain Malpartida de Cáceres-Arroyo de la Luz
Spain Monegrillo-Pina steppe area-Pina
Spain Olivenza-La Albuera
Spain Oropesa plains
Spain Pedro Muñoz-Manjavacas endorreic lagoons
Spain Pedroches Occidentales
Spain Pela mountain range-Orellana reservoir-Zorita
Spain Pétrola-Almansa-Yecla
Spain Plain between Cáceres and Trujillo-Aldea del Cano
Spain Redbeeds and copses of Aranjuez
Spain River Moros
Spain San Clemente-Villarrobledo
Spain San Pedro mountain range
Spain Tablas de Daimiel marshes; 'Vicario' and 'Gasset' reservoirs and Malagón lakes
Spain Talamanca-Camarma
Spain Tarancón-Ocaña-Corral de Almaguer
Spain Tembleque-La Guardia plains
Spain Tierra de Campiñas steppes
Spain Tierra de Campos steppes
Spain Topas
Spain Tordesillas-Mota del Marqués
Spain Torrejón de Velasco - Secanos de Valdemoro
Spain Torrijos
Spain Trujillo-Torrecillas de la Tiesa
Spain Villafáfila
Spain Villanueva del Fresno
Spain West Andévalo
Syria Ras al-Ayn
Syria Tual al-'Abba
Tajikistan Kayrakkum Reservoir
Turkey Acıgöl Lake
Turkey Aliken
Turkey Altıntaş Plateau
Turkey Bismil Plain
Turkey Bulanık and Malazgirt Plains
Turkey Ceylanpınar
Turkey Çöl Lake and Çalıkdüzü
Turkey Karasu Plain
Turkey Kavuştuk Peninsula
Turkey Muş Plain
Turkey Patnos
Turkey Samsam Lake
Turkey Sarayönü
Turkey Seyfe Lake
Turkey Tuz Lake
Turkey Upper Murat Valley
Turkey Van Plains
Turkey Yenipazar
Turkey Yüksekova
Ukraine Agricultural lands near Bilorets'ke (Chornozemne village)
Ukraine Bagerove
Ukraine Bilogir'ya
Ukraine Chauda
Ukraine Gajchur river valley
Ukraine Kakhovs'ke reservoir (Energodar)
Ukraine Syvash Bay
Ukraine Uzunlars'ke lake
Ukraine Yagorlyts'ka and Tendrivs'ka Bays

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Terrestrial Arable Land major breeding
Artificial/Terrestrial Arable Land major non-breeding
Artificial/Terrestrial Pastureland suitable breeding
Artificial/Terrestrial Pastureland suitable non-breeding
Grassland Temperate major breeding
Grassland Temperate major non-breeding
Altitude   Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Agro-industry farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Agriculture & aquaculture Livestock farming & ranching - Small-holder grazing, ranching or farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Agriculture & aquaculture Wood & pulp plantations - Scale Unknown/Unrecorded Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Intentional use (species is the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Rapid Declines Medium Impact: 6
Species mortality
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Unintentional effects (species is not the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Species mortality
Biological resource use Logging & wood harvesting - Unintentional effects: (subsistence/small scale) [harvest] Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Ecosystem degradation
Climate change & severe weather Storms & flooding Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Species mortality
Climate change & severe weather Temperature extremes Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Species mortality
Human intrusions & disturbance Work & other activities Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Species disturbance
Pollution Agricultural & forestry effluents - Type Unknown/Unrecorded Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Ecosystem degradation
Transportation & service corridors Roads & railroads Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Species disturbance, Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Transportation & service corridors Utility & service lines Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Species mortality

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food - human - - Non-trivial Recent
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - International Non-trivial Recent
Sport hunting/specimen collecting - - International Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Otis tarda. Downloaded from on 24/01/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 24/01/2020.