Little bustard is listed as Near Threatened because it is probably experiencing a moderately rapid overall population decline, driven by rapid declines in the west of its range, owing mainly to habitat loss and degradation, as well as low-level hunting pressure. Recent increases in the east of its range are so far unquantified, and require further study. Such data may have implications for the overall population trend and listing of the species.

İttle bustrard has two widely separated breeding populations. In its eastern range it occurs in Russia (likely to have been previously underestimated at 9,000 displaying males as 14,000-17,000 individuals were reported in one region alone [Orenburg]. Northern Iran and Turkey (20-100 pairs [Eken and Magnin 1999]). Its western range covers Spain (71-147,000 individuals comprising 41,482-86,195 breeding males [García de la Morena, et al. 2006], down from 100,000-200,000 males in the 1990s [De Juana and Martínez 1996]).

This species inhabits dry grassland and, in Europe, it also occurs in areas of low-intensity arable cultivation and pastoral land, selecting areas with a high diversity of ground cover such as mosaics of pasture, stubble fields, long-rotation fallow land and legume crops. The species has been observed to form mixed-species flocks with Pin-tailed Sandgrouse Pterocles alchata in Iberian regions.

 

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