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Rare Little Bustard at Slimbridge

Posted on 27 Jun 2019

Thousands of birders descended on Slimbridge this week hoping to catch a glimpse of a bird not seen in Gloucestershire since 1946.

The little bustard was first spotted flushed from long grass onto the Dumbles by Martin McGill, Senior Reserve Warden on Sunday 23rd June at 11.30am and since then around 2,000 avid birdwatchers lined up for the "mega" sighting in Slimbridge.

The last reported sighting in the county of the scarce bantam chicken-sized bird was in May 1946 in Nortleach and in Britain in 2014. There has only been 27 visits by the little bustard to the UK since 1950.

Little bustards live and breed in grassland areas. There is a resident population in Spain, with migratory populations in France, Ukraine, southern parts of Russia and Kazakhstan. This species is declining due to habitat loss throughout its range. It is only a very rare vagrant to Great Britain despite breeding in France.

This has been a very exciting week at Slimbridge. A big thank you and well done to all the staff and volunteers working hard after hours to give as many people possible the chance to see this rare bird.

For up to date sightings of the little bustard, keep an eye on Twitter @WWTSlimbridge and with the Slimbridge Reserve team @slimbridge_wild