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).
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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