Image: Australian Bustard chick Illustration
Australian Bustards are tall birds that live on open grassy plains and low shrubby areas in northern Australia. They have a long white neck and the top of their head is black.
- Andrew Howells
- © Australian Museum
Australian Bustards are tall birds that live on open grassy plains and low shrubby areas in northern Australia. They have a long white neck and the top of their head is black. Their wings are orange-brown in colour and when outstretched measure 2 m across. They have feet with three toes facing forwards and no back toe at all.
Australian Bustards walk through the grass during the morning and late afternoon looking for grasses, fruit and seeds, insects, small mammals and reptiles to eat. They grab their food with their short narrow beak and swallow it whole. When they are startled they call with a low booming noise.
Females lay one to three olive-brown blotchy oval eggs on the bare ground. They sit on the eggs (incubate) for 24 days. The chicks hatch covered with down and follow their mother until they can find their own food when they are four days old.
Habitat destruction, hunting and foxes preying on Australian Bustards have led to a drop in their numbers.
Find out more about the Australian Bustard on the Birds in Backyards website.