This group comprises the heaviest flying birds and forms the threshold for how heavy flying birds can get

Ardeotis comprises a group of bustard species known for their impressive size and terrestrial habits. These large, ground-dwelling birds are distributed across the expansive grasslands and shrubby areas of Africa, Asia, and Australia, where they play a significant role in the ecology of these regions.

Species within the Ardeotis genus, such as the Kori bustard (Ardeotis kori) and the Australian bustard (Ardeotis australis), are among the heaviest flying birds native to their respective regions. The Kori bustard, for instance, can reach up to 120 cm (47 inches) in height and is a sight to behold as it moves through the savannas of Africa. While slightly smaller, the Australian bustard is equally majestic as it strides across the Australian outback. In contrast, the Arabian bustard (Ardeotis arabs) is somewhat smaller but still notable for its height, reaching up to 92 cm (36 inches).

Sexual dimorphism is pronounced in these species, with males typically larger and more ornately feathered than females. This dimorphism is not just for show; it plays a critical role during the breeding season, as males display their size and plumage to attract mates through elaborate courtship rituals.

Breeding strategies in the Ardeotis genus are adapted to their open habitat. Females lay a small clutch of just 1-2 eggs, usually directly on the ground where vegetation is sparse. Nesting is minimalistic and often just a shallow depression scraped into the soil. The responsibility of incubating the eggs and caring for the chicks falls solely on the female, who must balance the demands of brooding with foraging for food.

Ardeotis bustards are opportunistic omnivores with a diet that reflects the diversity of their habitats. While insects form a substantial part of their diet, providing necessary proteins, they also consume seeds, contributing to their role as seed dispersers. Additionally, they will eat small reptiles and mammals when the opportunity arises, showcasing their adaptability as predators.