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Great Bustards

Unknown date

Two Great Bustards, one male and one female, mounted together on the same decorated base.

Definite location is unknown. However the original record for these specimens states that the background painting to the birds is of Stonehenge, one of the last known breeding areas of the species in Great Britain. This painted background is now missing but this could suggest that these birds did indeed come from Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire.

The Great Bustard is the world’s heaviest flying bird. It became extinct in Britain in 1832, after being hunted for food and sport. The Great Bustard was regarded by many as a missing piece of Britain’s wildlife heritage, especially in Wiltshire where it features in place names and on the county crest.

In September 2004 a re-introduction project released 22 birds imported from Russia, onto Salisbury Plain.