For the first time in decades, the great bustard is nesting again in Romania, a nature group said.
A veterinary student who was out working in the fields in western Romania near the border with Hungary came across the nest with three eggs earlier this month, the Milvus Group, a bird and nature protection group said.
It called the find one of “historic” importance.
It said the bird, which had a large population in parts of Romania in the 19th century, began to disappear from Europe in the 1950s during a period of postwar industrialization.
It is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 1996. Portugal and Spain have about 60% of the world’s population.
In Romania, its natural habitat of grasslands and farmlands was turned into collectivized farms and arable farming areas. Hunting and poaching also killed it off, the group said.
In 1988, the year before communism ended, there were just 48 great bustards in Romania.
The group said it believed that the town of Salonta had been “a last bastion of resistance” for the bird, with a population of about 40 birds that moved between Romania and Hungary which is close to Salonta.
It’s one of the world’s heaviest flying birds. Males weigh just under 10 kilograms.