Definition of bustard in 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.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The savanna landscape supports a small antelope species called Grimm's duiker, side striped jackals, and rare birds including Denham's bustard.’
    • ‘As they grow in confidence, the bustards will be encouraged to venture on to Salisbury Plain.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘That is why emus have many children but cannot fly and why bustards (brush turkeys) can fly but only have two offspring each season.’
    • ‘Today Mr Hussey said everyone at the hotel was hopeful of seeing the bustard returned as the centrepiece of the garden.’
    • ‘By the mid 19th century the great bustard was extinct in Britain.’
    • ‘Depending on how well the young bustards do when released to the wild, more chicks may well be brought over next year.’
    • ‘Certain large-bodied flying birds, such as bustards, pelicans, and vultures, pneumatize virtually the entire skeleton, out to the tips of the wings.’
    • ‘Out of 28 bustards that arrived on the Plain last July, there are still ten out in the wild.’
    • ‘The are also important breeding colonies of birds in this area including the blue swallow, Denham's bustard, Njombe cisticola and Kipengere seedeater.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We used these two traits to investigate the relationship between social dominance and migratory behavior among male bustards.’
    • ‘Despite these trapping efforts, more than half the bustards released were quickly killed by predators - three-quarters of these by red foxes.’
    • ‘Ms Ray, who drove the hire van with the crates containing the bustard chicks, said: ‘We are all over the moon.’’
    • ‘Wildlife was plentiful, especially bustard which soared vertically into the air when disturbed, flying noisily in a wide circle until we were past.’
    • ‘The great bustard, the world's heaviest flying bird, was widely distributed in England until the end of the 18th century.’


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.