Great Bustard nests in Slovakia for first time in 12 years


Ornithologists have discovered a Great Bustard nest in Slovakia for the first time in 12 years. 

The bustard is the most endangered bird species in Slovakia and breeding is now very rare. The nest was discovered in May, in the protected Sysľovské Polia area near Bratislava.

Great Bustard last bred in Slovakia in 2010 (Steve Laycock).

The last confirmed Great Bustard nest in the country was in 2010. This year, according to Jozef Ridzoň of the Slovak Ornithologist Association, monitoring confirmed that at least two chicks hatched.

Great Bustard used to be widespread in Slovakia, with 1,165 chicks counted in 1956.

"Studies have shown that the birds are able to get used to heavy machines moving around them, that they do not mind humans in vehicles. On the other hand, birds are distressed by cyclists, people on walks or roller-skates. That causes them to fly away,” Jozef Chavko of Raptor Protection told the TASR newswire.

An EU LIFE project, Steppe On the Border, is working to transform Sysľovské Polia into rich grasslands, with Great Bustard one of the priority species.