Aims: To present an updated estimate of the status and trends of the great bustard Otis tarda worldwide, provide a baseline for future evaluations of the conservation status of the species and identify regions where more precise census work is needed.
Results and Conclusions: The world population is estimated to be between 43,500 and 51,200 individuals, of which ca. 60 % occur in Spain. The results suggest that total numbers have not decreased during the last decade, in contrast to the declining trend currently assumed. This is largely due to the overall positive tendency recently observed in the Iberian Peninsula. Some small central European populations that had been decreasing for several decades are also recovering now, apparently due to active conservation measures. However, a reduction in range is still occurring, with a tendency to concentrate at sites with high-quality habitat. This recommends keeping conservation efforts and the species' protection status worldwide. More accurate surveys are needed in Russia, northwest China, Turkey and Ukraine in order to confirm numbers and trends in these countries.
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