Black bustard (Eupodotis afra)

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Male black bustard territorial display
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Black bustard fact file

Black bustard description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderGruiformes
FamilyOtididae
GenusEupodotis (1)

The black bustard has an arresting appearance, with a strong mottled pattern of dark brown and white plumage on the back, bordered with white, which contrasts boldly with the rest of the black body. The tail is a little greyer, with two broad black bars. The head is also black, with a white patch behind each orange-brown eye, and a slight crest of feathers at the back of the head is barred gold, brown and white. The bill is pinkish with a grey culmen, and the legs are bold yellow. Female black bustards have browner plumage than males and have more mottling on the upperparts, whitish breast and black belly (2).

Also known as
black korhaan.
Synonyms
Afrotis atra, Otis atra.
Size
Length: 50 cm (2)
Weight
700 g (2)
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Black bustard biology

Very little is known about the biology and ecology of the black bustard. Its diet is known to include vegetable matter and insects, and the nest is a simple grass-lined scrape, into which one to two eggs are laid (2).

The timing of breeding in this species is not clear; one report states that the breeding season occurs between August to October (2), while another suggests it spans October to March with a peak in November (4).

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Black bustard range

The black bustard occurs only in South Africa, from Little Namaqualand, south to Cape Town and east to Grahamstown (2).

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Black bustard habitat

This striking bird inhabits shrublands of the fynbos and karoo, in areas where there is little grass and tree cover (4). It is also often found in cereal cropland (2).

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Black bustard status

Classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List 2007 (1) and listed on Appendix II of CITES (3).

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern

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Black bustard threats

The black bustard, which has been classified as not threatened by the IUCN (1), is apparently a common species (2). However, it is possible that numbers may have decreased in the south-western Cape Province due to habitat destruction (4).

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Black bustard conservation

The black bustard is listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), meaning that any international trade in this species should be carefully monitored (3). Further research on the biology and ecology of this bird would be highly desirable (2).

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

Culmen
A ridge along the upper bill of a bird, from the tip of the bill to the forehead.
Fynbos
The natural shrubland vegetation occurring in the southwestern and southern Cape of South Africa, holding the greatest diversity of plant species in the world. Fynbos is characterised by tall shrubs with large leaves, heath-like shrubs, wiry reed-like plants, and bulbous herbs.
Karoo
A semi-desert region of South Africa.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (June, 2007)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org
  2. del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (1996) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 3: Hoatzin to Auks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  3. CITES (June, 2007)
    http://www.cites.org
  4. Harrison, J.A., Allan, D.G., Underhill, L.G., Herremans, M., Tree, A.J., Parker, V. and Brown, C.J. (1997) The Atlas of Southern African Birds. Volume 1: Non-Passerines. BirdLife South Africa, Johannesburg.
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Image credit

Male black bustard territorial display  
Male black bustard territorial display

© Nigel J. Dennis / www.photoshot.com

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