Ardeotis kori (Kori bustard) 

Gompou [Afrikaans]; Iseme (generic term for bustard) [Xhosa]; umNgqithi [Zulu]; Epwezampundu (generic term for bustard) [Kwangali]; Kgori [North Sotho]; Ngomanyuni [Shona]; Mithisi [Tsonga]; KgŰri, ThulakomÍ [Tswana]; Koritrap [Dutch]; Outarde kori [French]; Riesentrappe [German]; Abetarda-gigante [Portuguese]

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Ardeotis kori (Kori bustard)  Ardeotis kori (Kori bustard) 
Ardeotis kori (Kori bustard) 

Kori bustard. [photo Callie de Wet ©]

Top right: Kori bustard. [photo Johann Grobbelaar ©]                 Bottom right: Kori bustard, Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]
Ardeotis kori (Kori bustard) Ardeotis kori (Kori bustard)
Kori bustard in flight, Rooipoort Nature Reserve, South Africa. [photos Trevor Hardaker ©]

The Kori bustard has two subspecies, with one occurring in north-eastern Africa, while the other mainly occurs in southern Africa, living in a wide variety of mainly dry habitats. It eats a wide variety of animals and plant products, often eating hard materials, such as stones, pieces of bones and even bullet shells and broken glass! The male does a courtship display to multiple females, after which it mates with some of them, all incubating and parenting are left to be done by the female. The 1-2 chicks are able to fly when they are 3-4 months old, but they remain dependent on their mother until the following breeding season, when they are 12-18 months old.

Distribution and habitat

It has two subspecies, living in two different parts of Africa. Ardeotis kori struthiunculus (Somali kori bustard) occurs in north-eastern Africa, whereas Ardeotis kori kori occurs mainly in southern Africa, extending into Angola and south-western Zambia. In southern Africa it is locally common in Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and west-central South Africa. It generally prefers dry, open savanna, Nama karoo, dwarf shrublands, occasionally moving into grassland and dense, closed-canopy woodland.

Distribution of Kori bustard in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Predators and parasites

Food 

It eats a wide variety of animals and plant products, foraging by walking around and plucking food items from the ground, low bushes and trees. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Animals
  • Plant matter
    • seeds
    • berries
    • roots
    • bulbs
    • flowers
    • wild melons
    • Acacia gum
    • leaves
    • grass
  • Grit
    • It sometimes swallows pieces of grit, with one stomach containing the following:
      • stones
      • pieces of bones
      • one 12-bore shotgun shell
      • two Bullet shells
      • 4.5 x 4.5 cm piece of flat metal
    • Another stomach contained:
      • 60 g of Broken grass
      • Part of a plastic tail light

Breeding

  • Polygynous, territorial solitary nester, meaning that one male mates with multiple females. The male does a courtship display to multiple females, usually in early morning or late afternoon, in which he struts around with his head cocked, bill open and its neck inflated four times, all while giving a booming call.
  • The nest is a shallow scrape in the ground, often reusing the same site in multiple breeding seasons.
Ardeotis kori (Kori bustard)  

Kori bustard nest with eggs, Lephalele, South Africa. [photo Warwick Tarboton ©]

 
  • Egg-laying season is from July-April, peaking from October-February.
  • It lays 1-2 eggs, which are incubated by solely by the female for 23-25 days, defending the eggs from any lurking predators by chasing them with its head pointing downward.
  • The mother solely takes care of the chicks, who are able to fly when they are 3-4 months old. They remain dependent on their mother until the following breeding season, when they are 12-18 months old. The chicks are eaten by the following animals:

Threats

Vulnerable in South Africa, largely due to habitat loss, poisoning, deliberate snaring and hunting by dogs. Its range and abundance have decreased in Zimbabwe, southern Mozambique and in the Eastern Cape, and is now common only in large protected areas.

References

  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG (eds) 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town. 

 

 

 

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