Kori bustard

These large birds may remind you of ostriches, but they can fly!

Winfried Bruenken

A remarkable avian giant, holding the title of the heaviest bird capable of flight. Native to the expansive grasslands and savannahs of South and East Africa, this imposing bird presents a striking figure as it strides with deliberate grace across its territory. Males of the species can reach a staggering weight of up to 19 kilograms (42 pounds), a fact that speaks to the Kori Bustard’s robust build and size.

Despite their ability to take to the skies, Kori Bustards are predominantly terrestrial creatures. The substantial weight they carry makes flight a costly endeavor in terms of energy, so they prefer to walk, reserving flight for moments of necessity, such as escaping predators or traversing long distances in search of food.

The diet of the Kori Bustard is as varied as the landscapes it inhabits. These birds are opportunistic omnivores with a preference for insects, and they have a particular penchant for locusts, which they will consume with gusto, especially during the swarming season when these insects are plentiful. Beyond insects, their diet encompasses a wide range of other foods, including lizards, small mammals, seeds, berries, and even the eggs of other birds, making them an integral part of the ecological balance within their habitat.

During the breeding season, the behavior of the male Kori Bustard shifts dramatically as they engage in elaborate display rituals to attract females. These displays are a sight to behold: the male inflates his throat and fans out his tail feathers, strutting and booming in a show of dominance and allure. Despite the spectacle, the actual act of copulation is brief, and the male quickly moves on to repeat this display to court another potential mate. This promiscuity means that a single male may mate with several females in one season.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Angola
2016
Botswana
2016
Eswatini
2016
Possibly Extinct
Ethiopia
2016
Kenya
2016
Mozambique
2016
Namibia
2016
Somalia
2016
South Africa
2016
South Sudan
2016
Sudan
2016
Tanzania
2016
Uganda
2016
Zambia
2016
Zimbabwe
2016

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd / Colony

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No