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Last Updated: Monday, 23 July 2007, 14:16 GMT 15:16 UK
Great Bustard lays eggs in wild
Great bustard
The chicks reintroduced to Wiltshire were brought from Russia
A bird once extinct in the UK has laid eggs in the country's wilderness for the first time in more than 170 years.

In spring, a female Great Bustard, part of a group of chicks reintroduced from Russia, nested in Wiltshire and laid two eggs, however no chicks were born.

The Great Bustard Group delayed releasing details of the event due to fears of egg thieves and disturbance from bird watchers.

The last UK wild Great Bustard eggs were laid in 1832.

David Waters, from the Great Bustard Group, said: "It had been thought 2008 would be the first year that nesting activity would be seen and it is a tremendous boost to have this happening earlier.

"Although males were seen displaying to females this spring, it is understood that males have to be about five years old before they can breed.

"The eggs were incubated by the female, but then abandoned and, after examination, found to be infertile.

"This is likely to be linked to the young age of the males."

The Great Bustard was wiped out in England in the 19th century but was reintroduced to Salisbury Plain in 2004.

Dog helps chicks fear predators
14 Sep 05 |  Wiltshire
More bustard chicks due on plain
19 May 05 |  Wiltshire
Great bustard scheme a 'success'
31 Dec 04 |  Wiltshire


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