Cervical vertebrae 16 or 17. Bill as a rule shorter than the head or equal to it in length. Tail-feathers 16 to 20: primaries 11. An aftershaft present; no fifth secondary ; no bare tracts on the neck. Tarsus and bare portion of tibia covered with small scales ; the three toes short, stout, scutellated above; soles very broad, claws short and blunt. Males of many species with a gular pouch opening beneath the tongue and serving to inflate the neck.

Bustards are birds of stout build, with both neck and legs rather ong, and both carried, when the bird is walking, nearly at right angles to the body, giving a peculiar and characteristic appearance. They chiefly inhabit open ground or grass. A small depression in the ground, without lining or with very little, serves as a nest, and the eggs are olive in colour and double-spotted. The young birds when hatched are covered with down, and run almost immediately after leaving the egg.

This family inhabits Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia. Six species are Indian, each referred by some naturalists to a distinct genus, but all are here classed in four genera. Only one of the species is found in Assam, none in Burma or the Malay countries.

Key to the Genera.

a. No ruff; sexes differing in size or breeding- plumage or both.
a1. No crest, at all events in females and in males not breeding.
a2. Tarsus about 1/4 as long as wing……………………OTIS, p. 192.
b2. Tarsus more than 1/3 as long as wing; head, neck, and underparts black in breeding males……………………SYPHEOTIS, p. 198.
b1. A crest; size large……………………EUPODOTIS, p. 194.
b. A ruff on each side of neck; sexes alike ……………………HOUBARA, p. 196.

The Fauna Of British India, Including Ceylon And Burma-birds
Blanford, William Thomas, ed. The Fauna of British India: Including Ceylon and Burma. Vol. 4. 1898.
Title in Book: 
Book Author: 
William Thomas Blanford
Page No: 
Vol. 4
Term name: 

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