Black-bellied bustard (Eupodotis melanogaster)

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Head of a male black-bellied bustard amongst long grass
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Black-bellied bustard fact file

Black-bellied bustard description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderGruiformes
FamilyOtididae
GenusEupodotis (1)

The black-bellied bustard is a slender bird with long legs and a long, thin neck (2) (4). Both sexes have brownish upperparts patterned with black spots and bars, but whereas the female is white underneath, the male has the black breast and belly that gives this distinctive bird its name (4). The male’s black underparts extend into a thin stripe that runs up its neck and throat (2) (4) (5). The call of the male, performed relentlessly from an exposed mound or anthill, is a croaking ‘waak’ followed a few seconds later by an incongruous ‘pop’ (5) (6) (7).

Also known as
Black-bellied korhaan.
Synonyms
Lissotis melanogaster.
French
Outarde à ventre noire.
Size
Length: 58 - 63 cm (2)
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Black-bellied bustard biology

The black-bellied bustard is normally seen alone or, during the breeding season, in pairs (5) (6). During courtship the male performs an elaborate aerial display in which it flies high and slow, before abruptly parachuting to the ground with wings held aloft (5) (7). A breeding female usually lays one to two eggs in a shallow scrape in the grass (9).

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Black-bellied bustard range

The black-bellied bustard is found throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa (8).

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Black-bellied bustard habitat

Sparse woodland and open grassland are the preferred habitats of the black-bellied bustard (2) (5).

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Black-bellied bustard status

Classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1), and listed on Appendix II of CITES (3).

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern

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Black-bellied bustard threats

The black-bellied bustard is not thought to be threatened overall but localised declines have probably occurred due to hunting, afforestation and crop farming (8) (9) (10).

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Black-bellied bustard conservation

There are no known conservation measures in place for the black-bellied bustard.

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
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Find out more

To find out more about conservation of birds in Africa see:

For more information on this and other bird species please see:

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Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact: arkive@wildscreen.org.uk
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Glossary

Afforestation
The establishment of forest by natural succession or by the planting of trees on land where they did not grow formerly.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (January, 2009)
    http://www.iucn.org
  2. Sinclair, I., Hockey, P., Hayman, P. and Arlott, N. (2005) The Larger Illustrated Guide to Birds of Southern Africa. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.
  3. CITES (September, 2008)
    http://www.cites.org
  4. Richards, D. (2001) A Photographic Guide to Birds of East Africa. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.
  5. Sinclair, I. (1994) Ian Sinclair's Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.
  6. Newman, K. (2002) Newman's Birds of Southern Africa. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.
  7. Unwin, M. (2003) Southern African Wildlife: A Visitor's Guide. Bradt Travel Guides, Buckinghamshire, England.
  8. BirdLife International (January, 2009)
    http://www.birdlife.org
  9. del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (1996) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 3: Hoatzin to Auks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  10. Moreira, F. (2004) Distribution patterns and conservation status of four bustard species (Family Otididae) in a montane grassland of South Africa. Biological Conservation, 118(1): 91 - 100.
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Image credit

Head of a male black-bellied bustard amongst long grass  
Head of a male black-bellied bustard amongst long grass

© Tony Heald / naturepl.com

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