In his Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, Graham Pizzey described Australian bustards (Ardeotis australis) as 'lordly' and 'aloof.' And they are. They're big, unmistakeable birds that conduct themselves with the imperious manner of a baron inspecting his estate.
Once found across inland Australia, bustards are now rare to uncommon over most of their former range. I remember seeing a small flock roaming alongside the track through Fossilbrook, between Mount Garnet and Chillagoe in Far North Queensland. But that was 15 years ago. I'll be heading up that way again in July next year. I hope the population is still thriving. Elsewhere they have declined.
It's been a long time since wild bustards occurred in any number down here in Victoria. But Serendip Sanctuary is breeding them for reintroduction into the west of the state. Whether that plan succeeds depends on removing the threats that caused them to decrease in the first place. What are the odds?