Alarming decline of the Great Bustard world population over the last two decades
In Austria, the Great Bustard population has declined from about 700-800 individuals in the mid-20th century (1942) to 150-170 in the early 1970s (1970-1972) and to about 100 individuals in the late 1970s (1978). At the end of the century approx. 60 individuals could be recorded. Thanks to conservation efforts, the population has been able to recover in recent years. During the 2014 breeding season, around 320 individuals were recorded in the Weinviertel and in the cross-border breeding area in western Hungary. In the 2021 winter census, 620 individuals were counted in the western Pannonian area and 1,553 individuals in the eastern Pannonian area.
In addition to Austria, an increase in the population in Germany and Hungary was also recorded thanks to conservation efforts. However, the world population has been declining at an annual rate of 3.23% since 2005. The current worldwide population is estimated at 31,000–36,000 individuals, 34% (range 30–38%) fewer than 16 years ago.