Australian Bustard

One of our largest birds, often seen along the edges of country highways.  It prefers grasslands and is commonly found on grazing lands and cultivated farmland.  Often found in small groups, it walks slowly and with stately demeanour but will also freeze for periods.  Despite its size, it flies strongly, if slowly.  During courtship, the male will puff out a large red throat sack in spectacular fashion, ruffle its feathers, fan its tail and make a deep, booming call.

Australian Bustard Displaying

Australian Bustard Displaying

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This Australian Bustard lives between my place and the main (bitumen) road and I see him displaying regularly. Normally as I approach him in my car he turns his back and walks away, which is what I was expecting him to do on this occasion. To my surprise he didn’t move and I found that I was parked so close to him that I could only just fit him in the frame as I had my Canon 400mm f5.6 lens and 1.4x extender on my Canon EOS 7D Mark II. I couldn’t risk moving back as there was a good chance that the extra movement would have been too much for him. Settings: f-8, 1/2000 sec, ISO-800, 560mm.

Photographer: Don Caswell

Photographer: Don Caswell

A large, agricultural cultivation hosted several groups of Bustards that had grown used to people and vehicle movements and could be approached.

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