The Bustard Family: Information and Facts Bustards make up the family Otididae. The origin of the word, ‘bustard’, comes from the Latin word, ‘avis’ meaning ‘bird’ and a Spanish word, ‘tarda’ which is now no longer used. ‘Tarda’ means to be slow. This is how these birds were perceived because they are large and heavy and hence walk slowly and also fly slowly compared to most bird species. Sometimes names that owe their origin to language can mislead us, as not all species of bustards are slow. This name was first given in Europe to refer to the Great bustard.