OK, so that’s a shocking title, sorry but what else could I do? For those who don’t know, this is a Great Bustard (Otis tarda) which, depending on quite which source you cite, is the heaviest flying bird. Most people concentrate on Andean condors or wandering albatrosses when it comes to the size of flying animals, but if anything getting into the air with more weight as opposed to bigger wings is more of an achievement. Between the three we can potentially learn a lot about locomotion in heavy flying animals (which of course has direct relevance to pterosaurs) yet while it’s understandable that little has been done on the others given the difficulty of keeping them in captivity, it’s odd that so little has been done on the bustard. This one was snapped in the Beijing Zoo and thus was very accommodating, though now they have been successfully reintroduced to the UK I hope to see them wild in my homeland one day.
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