The Great Bustard is a large bird in the Bustard family, unrelated to other large bird species such as turkeys or geese. Great Bustards can (and do) fly, despite being the heaviest flying animal alive today. Great Bustards can be found across Europe, as far south as Spain and as far to the north as the Russian steppes. Most members of the Bustard family are smaller than the Great Bustard which is dwarfed only by the Kori Bustard. Male Great Bustards grow about 30% larger than the females, reaching up to 1 meter tall and weighing up to 16Kg (the heaviest recorded Great Bustard weighed in at 21Kg). The conservation status of the Great Bustard is listed as vulnerable, with populations in many countries being in decline and having been extinct in the UK for over 180 years.
Great Reed Warbler, Acrocephalus arundinaceus (2012)
Watercolour on paper, 210 x 297mm.
The Great Reed Warbler is a huge warbler, 50% bigger than a Reed Warbler and almost as big as a Redwing. Most warblers move delicately through the reeds but this one crashes around clumsily. In plumage it looks quite similar to a Reed Warbler but it has a more obvious eyestripe and the larger size and stronger bill are usually obvious.
The UK’s only naturalised parrot – it is large, long-tailed and green with a red beak and a pink and black ring around its face and neck. In flight it has pointed wings, a long tail and very steady, direct flight. Often found in flocks, numbering hundreds at a roost site, it can be very noisy.
This medium-sized member of the plover family is unusual in that the adult female is brighter than the male – an indication of their role-reversal in raising the young. Adults have largely grey-brown upperparts and bright chestnut belly, with a white chest band, throat and eyestripe, the latter contrasting with a dark cap. On spring migration they are often seen in groups, or ‘trips’, at traditional stopping places.
A smallish wader with contrasting brown upperparts and white underparts. It habitually bobs up and down, known as ‘teetering’, and has a distinctive flight with stiff, bowed wings. Its presence is often betayed by its three-note call which it gives as it flies off.
An unmistakable bird with its black back and white underparts, and distinctive black head with large pale cheeks and a tall, flattened, brightly-coloured bill. Its comical appearance is heightened by its red and black eye-markings and bright orange legs. Used as a symbol for books and other items, this clown among seabirds is one of the world’s favourite birds. With half of the UK population at only a few sites it is an Amber List species.