Skip to main content
Select Source:

Otididae

Otididae (bustards; class Aves, order Gruiformes) A family of medium to large birds which have grey or brown upper-parts, buff or white under-parts, with many having black and white head and neck markings. They have broad wings, long necks and legs, and three-toed feet. They inhabit open plains, where they are mainly terrestrial, flying occasionally. They are omnivorous, and nest on the ground. There are 10 genera, with 25 species, many endangered, found in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Otididae." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Otididae." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/otididae

"Otididae." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/otididae

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

bustards

bustards See OTIDIDAE.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"bustards." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"bustards." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/bustards

"bustards." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/bustards

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Bustards

Bustards

Species of bustards

Bustards and humans

Resources

Bustards are 26 species of tall birds that make up the family Otididae. Bustards occur in relatively open habitats in Africa, central and southern Europe, and Asia, Southeast Asia, and Australia. Most species, however, are African.

Bustards are large birds, with species ranging in body length from 14.552 in (37132 cm), and in weight from 148 lb (0.622 kg). Bustards have a stocky body, a long neck, and stout legs and feet, with three toes pointing forward, and no hind toe. The wings are broad, and the tail is short. The bill is stout, flattened, and blunt.

Bustards are colored in various subdued hues and patterns of brown, buff, gray, black, and white.

Bustards are sexually dimorphic, with males being larger and more brightly colored than females.

Some species of bustards occur during the non-breeding season in flocks of various size. Bustards walk while feeding, and although they can fly, they tend to run to escape from predators. Bustards have keen vision, and are wary and difficult to approach closely on foot. Bustards are omnivores, eating a wide range of plant and animal foods. Bustards prey on large insects, such as grasshoppers and beetles, as well as on small reptiles and nestling birds.

Bustards nest on the ground, and lay one to five eggs. The female incubates the eggs and cares for the young birds, which are precocious and can leave their nest soon after hatching.

Species of bustards

The great bustard (Otis tarda ) occurs in scattered populations in Eurasia. Its present distribution is greatly reduced compared with several centuries ago because of overhunting and conversions of its natural habitat to agriculture. However, this species is still abundant in some places where its seasonal flocks can contain as many as 500 birds. The male great bustard has a spectacular courtship display in which internal air sacs are expanded to greatly puff out the chest while white plumes are erected on the wings, tail, breast, and head. This strutting display is generally performed on slightly raised ground, in front of a hopefully appreciative audience of as many as six female birds.

The little bustard (Otis tetrax ) is another Eurasian species with a wide distribution like that of the great bustard. The great and little bustards undertake seasonal migrations, flying south from the northern parts of their range. The Houbara or MacQueens bustard (Chlamydotis undulata ) occurs from the Canary Islands off western Africa, through North Africa to southwestern Asia.

The Australian bustard (Ardeotis australis ) is the only species to occur on that continent. This species utilizes rather dense, shrubby habitat, in contrast to the open spaces preferred by other species of bustards.

The smallest bustards are the lesser florican (Sypheotides indica ) and the Bengal florican (Houbaropsis bengalensis ) of India. The worlds heaviest flying bird is the great bustard, which can reach a weight of 48 lb (22 kg). Other large species include those in the genus Ardeotis, such as the Kori bustard (A. kori ) of southern Africa.

Bustards and humans

Bustards are large, palatable birds, and they are hunted for sport or as food in most parts of their range. Some species of bustards have become endangered through the combined effects of overhunting and conversions of their habitat to agricultural land uses. The most endangered species are the great Indian bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps ), the Bengal florican, and the lesser florican. Other species, while not endangered, have had their breeding ranges significantly reduced. The great bustard, for example, was extirpated in England in 1832, although efforts are underway to re-establish it there. In the summer of 2005, 33 great bustards were released and, as of early 2006, more than 20 survived in the wild.

KEY TERMS

Conversion In the ecological context, this usually refers to a managed change of a natural ecosystem to one dominated by a human purpose, such as agriculture or an urbanized land-use. Losses of habitat associated with these sorts of conversion are among the most important causes of extinction and endangerment.

Dimorphic This refers to the occurrence of two different shapes or color forms within the species, usually occurring as sexual dimorphism between the males and females.

Extirpated The condition in which a species is eliminated from a specific geographic area of its habitat.

Over-hunting Harvesting of wild animals at a rate that exceeds their capacity for regeneration, causing their population to collapse.

Resources

BOOKS

Bird Families of the World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.

Collar, N.J. Family Otididae (Bustards). In Handbook of Birds of the World. Vol. 3, edited by J. del Hoyo, A. Elliott, and J. Sargatal. Barcelona, Lynx Edicions, 1996.

Johnsgard, P.A. Bustards, Hemipodes, and Sandgrouse. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991.

Bill Freedman

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Bustards." The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Bustards." The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/bustards

"Bustards." The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/bustards

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Bustards

Bustards

Bustards are 22 species of tall birds that make up the family Otidae. Bustards occur in relatively open habitats in Africa , central and southern Europe and Asia , Southeast Asia, and Australia . Most species, however, are African.

Bustards are large birds, with species ranging in body length from 14.5-52 in (37-132 cm), and in weight from 1-48 lbs (0.6-22 kg). Bustards have a stocky body, a long neck, and stout legs and feet, with three toes pointing forward, and no hind toe. The wings are broad, and the tail is short. The bill is stout, flattened, and blunt.

Bustards are colored in various subdued hues and patterns of brown, buff, gray, black, and white. Bustards are sexually dimorphic, with males being larger and more brightly colored than females.

Some species of bustards occur during the nonbreeding season in flocks of various size. Bustards walk while feeding, and although they can fly, they tend to run to escape from predators. Bustards have keen vision , and are wary and difficult to approach closely on foot. Bustards are omnivores, eating a wide range of plant and animal foods. Bustards predate on large insects such as grasshoppers and beetles , as well as on small reptiles and nestling birds.

Bustards nest on the ground, and lay one to five eggs. The female incubates the eggs and cares for the young birds, which are precocious and can leave their nest soon after hatching.


Species of bustards

The great bustard (Otis tarda) occurs in scattered populations in Eurasia. Its present distribution is greatly reduced compared with several centuries ago because of overhunting and conversions of its natural habitat to agriculture. However, this species is still abundant in some places where its seasonal flocks can contain as many as 500 birds. The male great bustard has a spectacular courtship display in which internal air sacs are expanded to greatly puff out the chest while white plumes are erected on the wings, tail, breast, and head. This strutting display is generally performed on slightly raised ground, in front of a hopefully appreciative audience of as many as six female birds.

The little bustard (Otis tetrax) is another Eurasian species with a similarly wide distribution as the great bustard. This and the preceding species undertake seasonal migrations, flying south from the northern parts of their range. The Houbara or MacQueen's bustard (Chlamydotis undulata) occurs from the Canary Islands off western Africa, through North Africa, as far as southwestern Asia.

The Australian bustard (Ardeotis australis) is the only species to occur on that continent . This species utilizes rather dense, shrubby habitat, in contrast to the open spaces preferred by other species of bustards.

The smallest bustards are the lesser florican (Sypheotides indica) and the Bengal florican (Houbaropsis bengalensis) of India. The world's heaviest flying bird is the great bustard, which can achieve a weight of 48 lb (22 kg). Other large species include those in the genus Ardeotis, such as the Kori bustard (A. kori) of Southern Africa.


Bustards and humans

Bustards are large, palatable birds, and they are hunted for sport or as food in most parts of their range. Some species of bustards have become endangered through the combined effects of overhunting and conversions of their habitat to agricultural land uses. Other species, while not endangered, have had their breeding ranges significantly reduced. The great bustard, for example, was extirpated in England in 1832.


Resources

books

Bird Families of the World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.

Brooke, M., and T. Birkhead. The Cambridge Encyclopedia ofOrnithology. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Johnsgard, P.A. Bustards, Hemipodes, and Sandgrouse. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991.


Bill Freedman

KEY TERMS

. . . . . . . . . . . .
Conversion

—In the ecological context, this usually refers to a managed change of a natural ecosystem to one dominated by a human purpose, such as agriculture or an urbanized land-use. Losses of habitat associated with these sorts of conversion are among the most important causes of extinction and endangerment.

Dimorphic

—This refers to the occurrence of two different shapes or color forms within the species, usually occurring as sexual dimorphism between the males and females.

Extirpated

—The condition in which a species is eliminated from a specific geographic area of its habitat.

Over-hunting

—Harvesting of wild animals at a rate that exceeds their capacity for regeneration, causing their population to collapse.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Bustards." The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Bustards." The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/bustards-0

"Bustards." The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/bustards-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.