Kori Bustard: Ground-Dwelling Beauty of Southern Africa

This kind of bird belongs to the bustard family and it is a ground-dwelling bird like all bustards. It is an opportunistic omnivore that inhabits open grasslands and is found in southern Africa. It is classified as a near-threatened species because it is rare in unprotected areas and has had a drop in population due to hunting, poisoning, bush encroachment, and agricultural expansion.

Where To Find Kori Bustards

Although it is indigenous to both eastern and southern Africa, the kori bustard can be found there. Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe are the countries where it is most prevalent locally. It grows on sandy, open grasslands, and occasionally in other places other than deep forests.

It hides from the heat under tree clusters beside dry streams while it is in dry grasslands. The best times to find them are during the breeding season, next to irrigation holes, and near their food sources.


The kori bustard breeds in open savanna with light grass, trees, bushes, and occasionally in steep regions. The female bustard does not actually build a nest, unlike other bustard species. Rather, the eggs are laid in a shallow region that is between 12 and 18 inches in diameter on the ground.

The nest is difficult to locate unless someone happens to stumble upon it; it is often 13 feet away from a shrub, tree, termite mound, or pile of rocks. She frequently spends years on the same website.

Kori Bustard Scientific Name

Kori bustards are members of the Aves class of birds. The kori bustard is the common name for this species of bird. In Namibia, it’s known as “Christmas turkey,” while in South Africa, it’s called “Kalahari Kentucky.” There are four species in the genus Ardeotis, with the scientific name Ardeotis kori. Otididae is its family (bustards).

Its English name of kori comes from its African name in the Setswana language, which is kgori.

Kori Bustard Appearance

The kori’s primary hues are brown and grey with intricate black and white designs. Its side feathers are white, black, and sandy brown in color. The male has more pigmentation on its black crest on top of its head than the female does. There is a white band above each eye.

With thin, delicate black barring, the chin, throat, and neck are all white. A big head pair with yellow-colored eyes and legs that are yellowish and have three toes facing forward.

The male is 15.4–39.7 pounds in weight, 3 ft 5 in–4 ft 5 in in length, 23.6-47.2 in (average 4.5 ft) in height, and 7 ft 7 in–9 ft 0 in wingspan. The female is 20–30% smaller than the male in both height and weight. She stands 2.25 feet tall, her length is 2 feet 11 inches to 3 feet 8 inches, her wingspan is 5 feet 10 inches to 7 feet 3 inches, and her weight ranges from 6.6 to 15.4 pounds on average.

In terms of appearance, juvenile birds resemble females, but they have shorter neck and crest feathers, more brown, and mantle patches. Juvenile males are smaller than females but still larger than adult males.

Kori Bustard Behavior

When it comes to mating, males are hostile. The bird spreads its wings upon landing and continues to do so until it reaches walking speed. It avoids flying, just like other bustards, and the female only flies at the very last minute to lay eggs.

She deposits her eggs in shallow hollows rather than creating a true nest. This species of bird calls in response to various situations. It makes a loud mating cry and lets out a harsh, growling bark when it feels threatened.

Migration Pattern and Timing

However, in contrast to many other African birds, the kori bustard does not migrate. It occasionally moves erratically at night to new habitats based on the amount of rainfall. Males, both adult and juvenile, relocate following the breeding season, while females remain.

Kori Bustard Diet

Since kori bustards are opportunistic omnivores, they consume both plant and animal materials depending on the situation. To feed, they trail behind ungulates that are out foraging. They occasionally feed in agricultural settings like wheat fields. Humans treating locusts for pests occasionally inadvertently poison them.

Predators and prey

As omnivores that hunt by chance, great Indian bustards consume any edible food that is available to them in their immediate environment. They eat tiny mammals, small reptiles, worms, and different arthropods.

During the summer monsoon, when rainfall peaks in India and the bird’s breeding season primarily occurs, the majority of their food consists of insects including locusts, crickets, and beetles. Seeds (including wheat [Triticum vulgare] and peanuts [groundnuts; Arachis hypogaea]), in contrast, make up the largest portions of the diet during the coldest and driest months of the year.

Despite having few natural enemies, adult great Indian bustards exhibit significant agitation when in the presence of certain predatory birds, including Egyptian vultures (Neophron percnopterus) and eagles. The only animals that have been observed to attack them are gray wolves (Canis lupus).

On the other hand, jackals, stray dogs, and cats might prey on chicks. Occasionally, foxes, mongooses, monitor lizards, Egyptian vultures, and other birds will steal eggs from their nests. However, grazing cows pose the biggest risk to the eggs since they frequently step on them.

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Kori Bustard Reproduction, Babies, and Lifespan

Great Indian bustards are omnivores who hunt by chance; they eat anything edible that is in their local area. The majority of the food for these birds is insects, such as locusts, crickets, and beetles, which are abundant during the summer monsoon, when rainfall peaks in India and the birds’ mating season largely occurs.

Even though they don’t have many natural enemies, adult great Indian bustards get a little disturbed around eagles and Egyptian vultures (Neophron percnopterus).

The average weight of the two eggs that females lay is 5.3 ounces. The eggs measure 2.3–2.4 inches in width, 3.2–3.4 inches in height, and 4.3–6.3 ounces in weight. They feed their chicks softened food. After hatching, a few hours later, the chicks, who initially weigh between 2.8 and 4.1 oz, may follow their moms thanks to their rapid growth.

After a few weeks, they can go foraging with their mothers. At 4-5 weeks, they begin to flap, and by 3–4 months, they are flying on their own.

Conservation status

Great Indian bustards were added to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species in 1994 as an endangered species. But by 2011, the species’ population was declining so drastically that the IUCN had to reclassify it as critically endangered.

There were expected to be between 50 and 250 mature birds left according to the most recent population estimate, which was completed in 2008.

The natural geographic range of the species, which formerly covered most of the northwest and west central India, has been assessed by ecologists to have been lost to fragmentation caused by mining and road construction, as well as altered by irrigation and mechanized farming.

The great Indian bustard is in a vulnerable situation as a result of these activities, low reproduction in the species, and pressure from natural predators. The initiative was based on Project Tiger, a large-scale national initiative to save India’s tigers and their natural habitat that was started in the early 1970s.

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