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Page last updated at 19:28 GMT, Tuesday, 1 June 2010 20:28 UK
Springwatch: Great Bustards courting on Salisbury Plain
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Gordon Buchanan share's the Great Bustards' courtship display

Great Bustards, one of the heaviest flying birds in the world, have been showing their elaborate courtship display to the Springwatch cameras.

The males extravagantly showcase the underside of their feathers which can be seen by female Bustards over great distances.

The birds were hunted out of existence in Britain in the 1840s.

They have been successfully re-introduced to the UK thanks to the Great Bustard Group in Wiltshire.

Headed up by David Waters the re-introduction programme is working in conjunction with Russian biologists to relocate chicks reared from eggs rescued from endangered nests around Saratov.

Once the chicks are big enough they are brought to the UK and fitted with wing-tags so they can be monitored before being released on Salisbury Plain.

Summer 2009 marked the first successful breeding attempts by the Great Bustard Group.

Two females nested and both managed to fledge a chick, marking the return of Great Bustards once again breeding successfully in the UK - the first time in more than 175 years.

Springwatch 2010 can be viewed Monday to Thursday at 8pm on BBC Two until 17 June.




SEE ALSO
Springwatch: Exploring Wiltshire
01 Jun 10 |  Nature & Outdoors
Peregrines nesting in Avon Gorge
01 Jun 10 |  Nature & Outdoors
Springwatch ready to go for 2010
28 May 10 |  Nature & Outdoors
Too cold for Great Bustards?
12 Jan 10 |  Nature & Outdoors
New bustard chicks a 'huge step'
02 Jun 09 |  Wiltshire
Comeback Bustards still surviving
15 May 05 |  Animals

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