Friday, 18 January 2008

Special birds: Great Bustard

First up in a series of notes on special birds of Eastern Europe is... Great Bustard Otis tarda. To see this impressive bird one has to visit Hungary. Though there a few small flocks are scattered in neighbouring countries (Serbia, Slovakia, Austria) Hungary, which nestles in the Carpathian basin, is the region's stronghold. The best areas to search lie east of the Danube, on the "Great Plain, and include "puszta" (steppe-like grasslands) and farmlands in the Kiskunsag region and in Bekes, Csongrad and Heves counties. There are Great Bustards on the Hortobagy though, contrary to much that is written, this area is not at all the best in Hungary for this species, though it is for some others. They are resident birds, non-migratory, though there is some dispersal, and can be found all year round.

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