The Great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis Nigriceps) is one of the largest birds in the Family Otididae in the world. The species occurs in the Indian Subcontinent. Since 2011, the bird is listed as CR (critical endangered) in the IUCN Red List. Its total population has declined over 80% in the last 50 years. The Great Indian Bustard is often known as the “royal tiger” of the grasslands, but by no means is the protection given to the ”State bird of Rajasthan” remotely sufficient. If there will be no increase in protecting this majestic, elegant bird it would soon remain only as a picture in a bird book.

Historically, widespread hunting for sport and food precipitated its decline. However, the current threats are mostly from habitat loss and degradation. Agricultural expansion, roads, mining, infrastructural development, electricity pylons, wind turbines and industrialization are the major problems in many bustard areas.

The Great Indian Bustard with a height of about one metre is one of the largest ground birds in India. They inhabit arid and semi-arid grasslands with scattered short bushes in flat or gently undulating terrain. They requires different microhabitat for different activities: less disturbed higher grassland patches to breed during mid-summer and monsoon for nesting in open ground with high insect resources; short sparse vegetation on slightly elevated ground for display; normal sparse vegetation with minimal scrub for roosting; and moderate vegetation for shade.

The bird breeds once a year. A female normally lays a single egg on the ground. The female is usually in her youth, which she attains around the age of two-and-a-half years, when she lays the first time an egg, while the male matures roughly after the age of five years. Females incubate the egg for close to over three weeks as a single parent. This is the time when the bird is most vulnerable to its predators.

Our special thanks goes to Mr. Murli Rangnathan for the image of the Great Indian Bustard.

This bird is known as “Godawan” in the Hindi language, which every bird lovers desire to see. The Desert National Park in Rajasthan in the heart of the Thar Desert is the best place to find this shy bird. Among this beautiful Great Indian Bustard you can search for a wide range of semidesert wildlife. Desert National Park is home to 60 species of mammals like Indian Gazelle known as Chinkara, Asiatic Wild Cat, Jungle Cat, Desert Fox for example, 8 species of amphibians, 51 species of reptiles like Indian Spiny-tailed Lizard, Desert Monitor, Scaled Viper and more than 100 bird species. Beside the Great Indian Bustard the area is home to the migrant Houbara Bustard known as Macqeen’s Bustard, Cream-colored Courser and many more.


Desert Cat

Indian Courser

Common Stonechat

Desert Fox