Definition of bustard in US English:



  • A large, heavily built, swift-running bird, found in open country in the Old World. The males of most bustards have a spectacular courtship display.

    Family Otididae: several genera and species, including the great bustard (Otis tarda), which is the heaviest flying land bird

    • ‘We used these two traits to investigate the relationship between social dominance and migratory behavior among male bustards.’
    • ‘As they grow in confidence, the bustards will be encouraged to venture on to Salisbury Plain.’
    • ‘The great bustard, the world's heaviest flying bird, was widely distributed in England until the end of the 18th century.’
    • ‘Certain large-bodied flying birds, such as bustards, pelicans, and vultures, pneumatize virtually the entire skeleton, out to the tips of the wings.’
    • ‘By the mid 19th century the great bustard was extinct in Britain.’
    • ‘This kind of hunting, in which the falcons are trained to attack much larger birds, is one reason bustards are threatened throughout much of their range.’
    • ‘Foxes are one of the bustard's main enemies and experts are experimenting with ways of keeping the chicks away, including squirting them with water pistols if they get too close to their predators.’
    • ‘Apart from the globally-extinct great auk, the bustard is the only bird known to have bred in Britain that hasn't done so in recent times.’
    • ‘Despite these trapping efforts, more than half the bustards released were quickly killed by predators - three-quarters of these by red foxes.’
    • ‘That is why emus have many children but cannot fly and why bustards (brush turkeys) can fly but only have two offspring each season.’
    • ‘The savanna landscape supports a small antelope species called Grimm's duiker, side striped jackals, and rare birds including Denham's bustard.’
    • ‘The are also important breeding colonies of birds in this area including the blue swallow, Denham's bustard, Njombe cisticola and Kipengere seedeater.’
    • ‘As villagers at Market Lavington were told when Karen Ray, another member of the Great Bustard team, visited their annual parish meeting last week, bustards are difficult to breed.’
    • ‘Today Mr Hussey said everyone at the hotel was hopeful of seeing the bustard returned as the centrepiece of the garden.’
    • ‘Ms Ray, who drove the hire van with the crates containing the bustard chicks, said: ‘We are all over the moon.’’
    • ‘The male bustards, which already weigh more than 5kg, were flying into the net roof with such force that it acted like a trampoline and threw them back to the ground.’
    • ‘Depending on how well the young bustards do when released to the wild, more chicks may well be brought over next year.’
    • ‘Out of 28 bustards that arrived on the Plain last July, there are still ten out in the wild.’
    • ‘Wildlife was plentiful, especially bustard which soared vertically into the air when disturbed, flying noisily in a wide circle until we were past.’
    • ‘And in Austria there is a well-funded project to try to prevent one of the world's most spectacular birds, the great bustard, from dying out.’


Late 15th century: perhaps an Anglo-Norman French blend of Old French bistarde and oustarde, both from Latin avis tarda ‘slow bird’: the name is unexplained, as the bustards are fast runners.