Great Indian bustard

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The great Indian bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps) belongs to the family Otididae. The great Indian bustard species is distributed in west Indian states and adjoining Pakistan.

Taxonomy of Great Indian bustard

  • Scientific Name: Ardeotis nigriceps
  • Common Name: Great Indian bustard
  • French: Outarde à tête noire; German: Hindutrappe; Spanish: Avutarda india;
  • Other names: Indian bustard; Choriotis nigriceps; Eupodotis edwardsi; Otis nigriceps (Vigors, 1831);
  • Family: Otididae › Gruiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Species author: (Vigors, 1831)
Ardeotis nigriceps was earlier included in the genus Otis.

Image of great Indian bustard - Ardeotis nigriceps
Indian birds - Image of great Indian bustard - Ardeotis nigriceps


The great Indian bustard male is larger than the female. The male measures, 100 to 120 cm in length and weighs 8,000 to 14,500 grams. The female measures 70 to 90 cm in length and weighs 3,500 to 7,000 grams. It has a pale neck and head, contrasted by a black cap. The body is brownish with a black patch spotted in white. The male develops a black breast band and deep sandy buff color during breeding season. They produce deep resonant sounds and calls.


The great Indian bustard inhabits semi-arid grasslands, open country with thorn scrub, tall grass interspersed with cultivation.

Feeding habits

The great Indian bustard is omnivorous feeding on seeds, crops, berries and cereals. They also feed on large insects, rodents, small birds and reptiles.


The great Indian bustard breed during March to September. They males may involve in territorial fights. The female lays a single egg. Only the female is involved in incubation of the egg and raising the chicks. The males are polygamous.


This species was formerly widespread in Indian territory and Pakistan. Presently they are restricted to isolated pockets in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. some may be surviving in Sindh, in Pakistan.

Movement Patterns

These birds are mostly sedentary. The may make local movements in search of food sources.

Status and conservation

This species was formerly widespread in western Indian states and Pakistan. Widespread hunting, egg collection and habitat degradation has lead to sharp decline in the population. The species's total population was estimated at 300 individual birds in 2008. Though they are protected species in both the countries, some poaching still continues.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these bird species and has listed them as "Critically Endangered".

Biological classification of Ardeotis nigriceps
Species:A. nigriceps
Binomial name:Ardeotis nigriceps
Distribution:India and Pakistan;
Feeding habits:large insects, seeds, berries, crops, frogs, reptiles and birds;
IUCN status listing:
Critically Endangered

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