Kori Bustard (Ardeotis kori) - African Wildlife and Nature Photographs

Kori Bustard

Family: Otididae

Genus: Ardeotis

The Kori Bustard (Ardeotis kori) is Africa's largest flying bird, especially males which are between 7 and 18 kg (15 and 40 lb) in weight, which may make them possibly the largest animal capable of flight today. Their size and dark crests are generally diagnostic amongst the bustards found in the Kori Bustard's range and thus not mistaken for other possible Bustard species which inhabit their domain, also Kori Bustards have a more greyish appearance.

Found in many countries of Sub-Saharan Africa the Kori Bustard can usually be seen in open grassy areas in these countries, which are characterised by sandy soil the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in South Africa being especially a productive area. Spending most of their time on the ground the wary Kori bustard can be quite shy birds despite their size, often running or crouching at the first sign of danger.

The Kori Bustard can be seen walking slowly and sedately as they forage, picking at the ground with their bills and like many other birds often follow herds of large animals around in the short grasses of their chosen habits hoping that the disturbance will provide any suitable food stuffs. Kori bustards are quite omnivorous birds but insects are an important food source with common species such as locusts and grasshoppers forming a large part of their diet.

However, plant material is also an important food with grasses and seeds being the most prominent plant foods in Kori Bustards diet. As mentioned Kori Bustards are large birds the male Kori Bustard stands between 120 to 150 cm (3 ft 11 in to 4 ft 11 in) tall and between 7 and 18 kg (15 and 40 lb). The female is about 71–120 cm (2 ft 4 in–3 ft 11 in) tall and weighs in at about an average of 4.8 to 6.1 kg (11 to 13 lb).

Male Kori Bustards mating displays are quite spectacular, they hold their heads backwards, cheeks bulging with their crest held erect, the bill is open as the male Kori Bustard inflates its gular pouches, forming a white throat "balloon". During this display the oesophagus inflates to as much as four times its normal size and resembles a balloon. They also puff out their frontal neck feathers which are splayed upwards showing their white underside.

Sadly the Kori Bustard is generally a scarce bird and listed on Appendix II of CITES and the 2000 Eskom Red Data Book for Birds lists the status as vulnerable.

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Kori Bustard (Ardeotis kori)

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