Lophotis ruficrista (Red-crested korhaan) 

[= Eupodotis ruficrista

Boskorhaan [Afrikaans]; Epampa (generic term for korhaan) [Kwangali]; Gaundya [Shona]; Xicololwana lexi tsongo [Tsonga]; Mokgwęba [Tswana]; Zuidafrikaanse kuiftrap [Dutch]; Outarde houppette [French]; Rotschopftrappe [German]; Abetarda-de-poupa [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Gruiformes > Family: Otitidae

Lophotis ruficrista (Red-crested korhaan)  Lophotis ruficrista (Red-crested korhaan) 
Lophotis ruficrista (Red-crested korhaan) 

Red-crested korhaan. [photo Callie de Wet ©]

Top right: Red-crested korhaan. [photo Arno Meintjes ©].          Bottom right: Red-crested korhaan, Kruger National Park, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

The Red-crested korhaan is near-endemic to southern Africa, being uncommon to locally common in a range of woodland habitats. It is omnivorous, feeding on invertebrates, especially termites, beetles and grasshoppers, and plant matter, especially seeds and fruit, foraging on the ground, picking up food items with its bill. The male puts on a spectacular courtship display to multiple females, who solely incubate the eggs and raise the chicks. It lays 1-2 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female, for about 22 days, and little is known about the chicks.

Distribution and habitat

Near-endemic to southern Africa, occurring from southern Angola and Zambia to Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, southern Mozambique, Northern Cape and north-eastern South Africa. It is the most woodland-dependent of the bustards and korhaans, occurring in Mopane (Colospermum mopane), Acacia, cluster-leaf (Terminalia), Zambezi teak (Baikiaea plurijaga) and miombo (Brachystegia) woodland.

Distribution of Red-crested korhaan 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


Eats mainly invertebrates, supplemented with seeds and fruit. It mainly forages on the ground, picking up food items with its bill. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Invertebrates
  • Plants
    • seeds
      • Acacia
      • Brachystegia (miombo)
      • Boscia albitrunca (Shepherds-tree)
      • Citrulus (Tsamma lemon)
      • Grewia flava (Brandybush)
      • Grewia occidentalis (Cross-berry)
      • Limeum (African flax)
      • Lycium (honey-thorn)
      • Rhus leptodictya (Mountain karee)
    • leaves, and other soft plant material
      • Blepharis integrifolia (klapperbossies)
      • Monechma (skaapbloubossies)
      • Genera of Acanthacaea


  • Polygynous, with each male performing an elaborate courtship display to multiple females, some of which he will mate with.
  • It lays its eggs directly on the ground, often among dense leaf-litter.
Lophotis ruficrista (Red-crested korhaan)  

Red-crested korhaan at its nest, Nylsvley area, South Africa. [photo Warwick Tarboton ©]

  • Egg-laying season is from September-April, peaking from October-February.
  • It lays 1-2 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for about 22 days.
  • Little is known about the young, except that they fledge at roughly six weeks old.


No threatened.


  • 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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