Tuesday 21 May
Kori bustard (Ardeotis kori)
What’s the World’s Favourite Species?Find out here.
Kori bustard fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Kori bustard description
Along with condors, swans and turkeys, the kori bustard is one of the world’s heaviest flying birds, as well as being the largest of all bustards (2) (4) (5). Imposing in stature, it has a bulky body, a long, thick neck, and long, yellow legs (4) (6). The face and neck are predominately grey, but a distinctive black crest runs back from the crown. Aside from a black patch at the base of the neck, and black and white speckling around the shoulders, the upperparts are mostly brown, whilst the underparts are white (4). Although the female has a very similar plumage to the male, it is conspicuously smaller in size (7) (8). Two geographically separated subspecies are recognised: Ardeotis kori kori and A. k. struthiunculus (5).
- Outarde kori.
Kori bustard biology
Being primarily a terrestrial bird, the kori bustard is reluctant to fly unless in serious danger (2) (4) (8). Like other bustards, it forages on foot, taking a wide variety of food items including grasshoppers, dung beetles, small reptiles, rodents, seeds, roots and wild melons (4) (6). Often it will follow herding animals, feeding on insects disturbed by the herd’s movements, and will also be quick to inhabit recently burnt areas, where it feeds on new grass shoots and exposed animals (2) (4).
During courtship, the male kori bustard struts about with its crest raised, its neck inflated, and its tail feathers cocked (4) (7) (9). In addition, on approaching an individual female, the male will sometimes bow low, whilst emitting a low-pitched booming sound. Being a polygamous breeder, the male resumes its courtship display following copulation, having nothing more to do with egg incubation or parental care (9). The female incubates one to two eggs in a shallow scrape in the ground for 23 to 24 days before hatching (4) (9). The chicks remain with their mother well after fledging, and only reach sexual maturity after at least two years (9).Top
Kori bustard range
Ardeotis kori kori has a southern African distribution, occurring in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, southern Angola, South Africa and Mozambique, while A. k. struthiunculus has an east African distribution, from southern Ethiopia through Kenya into northern Tanzania (4) (5).Top
Kori bustard habitatTop
Kori bustard statusTop
Kori bustard threats
Owing to hunting, habitat loss, and a low tolerance for human activity, the kori bustard has been eliminated from many unprotected areas across its range (4) (5) (8) (9). Nonetheless, because it has such a large range and its rate of decline is thought to be relatively slow, the kori bustard is not currently listed in a threatened category on the IUCN Red List (1).Top
Kori bustard conservation
Fortunately, the Kori bustard occurs in relatively large numbers within several well-managed protected areas across its range, including Etosha National Park in Namibia and the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania (4). Zoos around the world are also studying this species in order to learn how best to conserve them in the wild (5) (9). Furthermore, in the United States, several zoos are involved in a breeding program which aims to maintain self-sustaining populations so as to avoid further imports from the wild (9).Top
Find out more
To find out more about the kori bustard, see:
- Smithsonian National Zoological Park – Kori Bustard Factsheet:
For more information on this and other bird species please see:
- BirdLife International:
AuthenticationThis information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact: email@example.comTop
- The act of incubating eggs, that is, keeping them warm so that development is possible.
- Mating with more than one partner in the same season.
- IUCN Red List (August, 2009)
- Burnie, D. (2001) Animal. Dorling Kindersley, London.
- CITES (August, 2009)
- Alden, P.C., Estes, R.D., Schlitter, D. and McBride, B. (1996) Collins Guide to African Wildlife. HarperCollins Publishers, London.
- Lichtenberg, E.M. and Hallager, S. (2008) A description of commonly observed behaviors for the kori bustard (Ardeotis kori). Journal of Ethology, 26: 17 - 34.
- Newman, K. (2004) What's That Bird? A Starter's Guide to Birds of Southern Africa. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.
- Sinclair, I. and Davidson, I. (2006) Southern African Birds: A Photographic Guide. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.
- Sinclair, I. (1994) Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.
- Smithsonian National Zoological Park (September, 2009)
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.