Fun Australian Bustard Facts For Kids

Rhea Nischal
May 10, 2023 By Rhea Nischal
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Isobel Murphy
Fact-checked by Smriti Chaudhary
Discover exciting Australian bustard facts about its size, habitat, and physical characteristics.

The Australian bustard (Ardeotis australis) is a huge terrestrial bird that can be spotted in shrubland areas, woodland, and grasslands. They are also commonly known as the plains turkey, wild turkey, native turkey, or bush turkey.

This species of bustard belongs to the family of Otididae and genus Ardeotis and is indigenous to Australia. They occur in Northern Australia and South New Guinea, but their appearance and actions are similar to those of the American turkey.

This bird is eminent due to its massive size, interesting lifestyle, and long limbs. It possesses a black neck and black crown, with a pale gray. The rest of the plumage which covers its wings and the upper part of its body is brown.

They are speckled with dark markings and possess a crest and white eyebrows. Their wingspan is almost double their height and they spread their wing feathers upwards to take a strong powerful flight.

It is the largest terrestrial bird in Australia that is still in existence. Their IUCN conservation status is Least Concern but their population trend is declining.

If you liked reading about the stunning Australian bustard, do check out our exciting animal facts about the tailorbird and the Kori bustard too.

Australian Bustard Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Australian bustard?

The Australia bustard is a small-medium-sized terrestrial bird that is speckled with dark markings. It is a part of the family Otididae and they are massive birds whose wingspan is twice their height.

The Australian bustard species is one among 26 species of bustards and this species prefers to live in open areas. It is one of the many birds facing the problem of habitat loss as these birds have been hunted, leading to a decline in their population.

What class of animal does an Australian bustard belong to?

The Australian bustard (Ardeotis australis) belongs to the class of Aves.

How many Australian bustards are there in the world?

It is estimated that the overall population of the Australian bustard exceeds 10,000 but does not surpass 100,000.

Where does an Australian bustard live?

Open grasslands with few trees, grassy plains, and low shrublands are the range of habitats preferred by this species. This plains turkey is a ground-dwelling bird and has also been spotted on farms and golf courses which is not unusual considering their liking of open areas.

What is an Australian bustard's habitat?

These majestic Australian bustard birds were previously common throughout the open habitats of Australia. In the north, they are still common and in abundance, whereas, in the south, these birds are becoming increasingly rare.

Who do Australian bustards live with?

The Australian bustard bird is a land-dwelling bird that can be normally seen walking alone at a slow pace or sometimes walking in a pair.

How long does an Australian bustard live?

The plains turkey (Australian bustard's common name) can survive for up to 25 years and takes some time to mature.

How do they reproduce?

As a part of their courtship displays, male bustards clear a showground, inflate their breast sac (also called throat sac), and walk with a lofty proud gait, with their tails raised high. They also make a powerful roaring noise to impress females when mating.

Their nest is built in grassy areas, especially where the parent bird can spot incoming predators easily Their clutch size is just one or two eggs, which are laid on the ground.

Incubation is carried out by the female parent bird. This incubation takes about 23 days and the pups are nourished by the female birds after the eggs hatch.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of this species of bustard is Least Concern as per the IUCN's Red List. However, in New South Wales, this species of bustard is considered endangered.

Australian Bustard Fun Facts

What do Australian bustards look like?

Their wing covers have a black and white feather design and this species is speckled with dark markings. They stroll with their neck and black crown held high, but they can camouflage easily when sitting on the ground due to their coloring.

A black crown and a black breast band adorn the male with a white crest and white eyebrows too.

Female birds of this species have no breast band but have brown crowns. During the mating season, the male's white, feathery breast sac (also known as the throat sac) is bloated and swings from left to right in a display to their potential mate.

*Please note that this is a picture of the Kori bustard and not a picture of the Australian bustard. If you have a royalty-free image of an Australian bustard, please let us know at 

‍How cute are they?

Australian bustards are majestic birds with a stunning wingspans. This bird is even considered auspicious in some places and Australian bustard feathers are even used in certain ceremonies.

How do they communicate?

Male birds make a roaring noise to impress females during mating season along with their poised strutting. These ground-dwelling birds use a variety of strong and hoarse noises to communicate.

How big is an Australian bustard?

Males may reach a height of 3.9 ft (1.2 m) and have a wingspan of 7.5 ft (2.3 m). The female is much smaller, being 2.6 ft (80 cm) tall and having a wingspan of 5.9 ft (1.8 m).

How fast can an Australian bustard fly?

Their flight speed is unknown but when they take a flight, the ends of the wing feathers are stretched and are curved upwards, giving it a powerful flight. They take flight with powerful wing beats as they leave the ground's surface.

They use this power and energy to travel over large distances, even though flying appears to be challenging for them.

How much does an Australian bustard weigh?

The male has a weight range of 9.5-28.1 lb (4.3-12.7 kg) and weighs 14 lb (6.3 kg) on average. Whereas the female has an average weight of 7.1 lb (3.2 kg) and a weight range of 5.3-14 lb (2.4-6.3 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no specific name for male or female birds of this species.

What would you call a baby Australian bustard?

Australian bustard babies are known as pups.

What do they eat?

Australian bustards consume leaves, frogs, seeds, buds, invertebrates, and lizards among other things. They frequently travel during twilight or after evening, grabbing food as they wander. Their threats include predation by foxes and cats.

Are they dangerous?

If the Australian bustard is disturbed, then it straightens its neck and points its bill toward the sky. They might start running if they feel they are in danger or they will stalk slowly away. They take flight if all else fails.

The female adopts a posture where her knees are bent and her upper body is brought forth and down. It runs away if feels threatened, so is not particularly dangerous. Their young try to remain camouflaged to avoid being seen.

Would they make a good pet?

The Australian bustard is a wild animal and cannot be kept as a pet.

Did you know...

It is one of the largest terrestrial flying birds in Australia that is still in existence, but it is the shortest species in the Ardeotis genus. The largest flying bird in Australia is the wedge-tailed eagle.

'Kere artewe' is the Arrernte name for this bird, while 'Kipara' is the Luritja name.

Australian bustard eggs are big and olive-green.

What does an Australian bustard sound like?

The Australian bustard call is deep, loud, and powerful, especially in the breeding season. They make sharp and rough ‘huh, huh’, ‘aa - a - r - r - rgh’, and 'aa - a - r - r - rgh' noises.

Can you eat a bustard?

It is a significant part of the food supply of people living in Central Australia. Regardless of the Australian bustard endangered status, Australian bustard meat is still consumed.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including the bustard or the ostrich.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Australian Bustard coloring pages.

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Written by Rhea Nischal

Bachelor of Business Administration specializing in Management

Rhea Nischal picture

Rhea NischalBachelor of Business Administration specializing in Management

A background in Business Administration and Management from MCM DAV College, Rhea has led her to work for her father's global business. However, her passion for content production, where she manages operations to ensure all processes run smoothly. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the piano and spending time with her one-year-old nephew.

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Fact-checked by Smriti Chaudhary

Bachelor of Technology specializing in Information Technology

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Smriti ChaudharyBachelor of Technology specializing in Information Technology

Smriti, a student data scientist, and coder, is pursuing her Bachelor of Technology at K.J. Somaiya College of Engineering. She has achieved top rankings in the International English Olympiad, National Spelling Bee, and PSAT/SAT English Section. She is experienced in content creation and editing for various academic institutions.

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