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Big bird by Darth-Marlan Big bird by Darth-Marlan

Male kori bustards range in weight from 24 to 42 pounds (11 to 19 kilograms) and females are roughly half the size of the males. They stand about 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall.

Their upper plumage is buff and grey, finely barred with black, which allows them to blend in with their environment. The underparts may be pale buff, white or solid black. They have only three front toes, which are short, broad and well adapted for running. Males are more brightly colored than females.

Kori bustards are distributed throughout eastern and southern Africa. They inhabit wide, open grasslands and lightly wooded savanna.

During the height of the mating display, the male inflates his esophagus to as much as four times its normal size. The tail feathers are cocked to reveal as much of the white underfeathers as possible. The wings may droop down so much that the tips of the primaries touch the ground. During direct courtship of a female, the male will bow toward her with his neck inflated and bill snapping. He may also emit a low-pitched booming sound.

Kori bustards are omnivorous birds, although they tend to be more carnivorous than other species of bustards. Insects form a large portion of their diet, especially when they are chicks. They also eat a variety of small mammals, lizards, snakes, seeds and berries. They have been observed eating carrion.

Males often gather in loose lek-like formations on top of low hilltops and display for females.

Kori bustards are a polygynous species—one male will mate with more than one female. Mating lasts no more than a few seconds, and once over, the male leaves and resumes displaying to attract another female. He plays no part in incubation or in the rearing of chicks. As with all bustards, the clutch of one to two eggs is laid on the ground in a shallow scrape the female has made. The eggs are pale olive in color with splotches of brown. Incubation is 23 to 24 days. The chicks hatched fully developed, and remain with the female well after the fledging period, which is at about five weeks. Kori bustards reach sexual maturity at about two years at the earliest.

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TerusTheBird Featured By Owner May 23, 2017  Student Digital Artist
I've known about these birds for years, but didn't know they can be 5 feet tall!
Darth-Marlan Featured By Owner May 23, 2017  Professional Photographer
They're impressive alright, we only ever saw them from a fair way from the vehicles, without other creatures near them, so was difficult to judge scale.
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Submitted on
May 8, 2017
Image Size
5.2 MB


16 (who?)

Camera Data

Canon EOS 7D Mark II
Shutter Speed
1/1000 second
Focal Length
600 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Aug 21, 2016, 11:32:54 PM
Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 (Windows)
Sensor Size