Neotis denhami (Denham's bustard, Stanley's bustard) 

Veldpou [Afrikaans]; Iseme (generic term for bustard) [Xhosa]; iSeme (generic term for bustard) [Zulu]; Epwezampundu (generic term for bustard) [Kwangali]; Khupa (generic term for bustard) [South Sotho]; Kgri, Kgrithamaga [Tswana]; Denham-trap [Dutch]; Outarde de Denham [French]; Stanleytrappe [German]; Abetarda-real [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

Neotis denhami (Denham's bustard, Stanley's bustard)  Neotis denhami (Denham's bustard, Stanley's bustard) 
Denham's bustard, Addo Elephant National Park, Eastern Cape, South Africa. [photo Duncan Robertson ] Denham's bustards foraging, Addo Elephant National Park, Eastern Cape, South Africa. [photo Duncan Robertson ]
Neotis denhami (Denham's bustard, Stanley's bustard)  Neotis denhami (Denham's bustard, Stanley's bustard) 
Denham's bustard, Bredasdorp, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ] Denham's bustard, Bredasdorp, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ]

The Denham's bustard is widespread in the Afrotropics, from western to southern Africa, where it is scarce to locally common in grassland, fynbos and cultivated areas. It is omnivorous, feeding on a wide range of animals, including grasshoppers, weevils, spiders, and even snakes, as well as plant products, including grass, leaves and flowers. It is polygynous, the male mating with multiple females, who will take on all the incubation and chick rearing duties. It lays 1-2 eggs, which hatch after about 23-25 days. The chicks are cared for by their mother, who will catch food and put into in front of the chicks, although later they start foraging for themselves.

Distribution and habitat

Widespread in sub-Saharan Africa, excluding lowland forest and deserts. In southern Africa it is locally common in southern and eastern South Africa, while scarce in northern Botswana and north-eastern Zimbabwe. It breeds in grassland and lowland fynbos, but in the non-breeding season it also strays into cultivated fields of barley, cotton and clovers. It also occurs in Nama karoo and sparse woodland.

Distribution of Denham's 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 is omnivorous, feeding on a wide range of animals, including grasshoppers, weevils, spiders, and even snakes, as well as plant products, such as grass, leaves and flowers. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

Breeding

  • Polygynous, with the male performing an elaborate courtship display to attract females, some of which he mates with.
  • The eggs are laid directly on the ground, with enough surrounding vegetation to conceal the female when she is incubating.
  • Egg-laying season is from September-December.
  • It lays 1-2 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for 23-25 days. She usually incubates for 82% of the day, only leaving the nest if she needs to feed.
  • The chicks are cared for by their mother, who will catch food and put into in front of the chicks, although later they start foraging for themselves.

Threats

Globally near-threatened, but vulnerable in South Africa, largely due to habitat loss, snaring, poisoning, hunting and human disturbance. For example, its population in the Gordon's Bay area in the Western Cape disappeared in 1937 due to construction of a road.

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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