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Bustards: Otididae

Blue Bustard (eupodotis Caerulescens): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: The blue bustard has a brown back and blue-gray neck and belly. It is about 21.5 inches (55 centimeters) in length and 2.5 to 3.5 pounds (1.1 to 1.6 kilograms) in weight.

Geographic range: Blue bustards are found in eastern and central South Africa and in Lesotho.

Habitat: Blue bustards are found in grasslands as well as in cultivated fields. They are a high altitude species that is generally found above 4,900 feet (1,500 meters).

Diet: Blue bustards eat plant matter as well as insects and larger animals such as small reptiles.

Behavior and reproduction: Blue bustards are found in small groups of between two and six individuals. Blue bustard groups are territorial and defend their territories against other members of the same species. Blue bustards do not migrate but remain in the same place year-round. Breeding generally occurs in October and November. One to three eggs are laid by the female, and hatch after a period of twenty-four to twenty-eight days. Young remain with their parents for as long as two years.

Blue bustards and people: No significant interactions between blue bustards and people are known.

Conservation status: The blue bustard is currently considered Near Threatened. Population declines are generally due to habitat loss as grasslands are converted for use in agriculture. ∎



del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott, and J. Sargatal, eds. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 3, Hoatzin to Auks. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions, 1996.

Johnsgard, P. A. Bustards, Hemipodes and Sandgrouse: Birds of Dry Places. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 1991.

Perrins, Christopher, ed. Firefly Encyclopedia of Birds. Buffalo, NY: Firefly Books, 2003.

Web sites:

"Otodidae (Bustards)." The Internet Bird Collection. http://www.hbw.com/ibc/phtml/familia.phtml?idFamilia=51 (accessed on April 13, 2004).

"Family Otididae (bustards)." Animal Diversity Web. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/classification/Otididae.html#Otididae (accessed on April 13, 2004).

"Bustards." Bird Families of the World, Cornell University. http://www.es.cornell.edu/winkler/botw/otididae.html (accessed on April 13, 2004).

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsBustards: Otididae - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Great Bustard (otis Tarda): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, BUSTARDS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS