restricted access Kori Bustard
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Kori Bustard L: 120–150 cm (47–59") |WS: 230–275 cm (91–108") Bustards are stout-billed ground birds with long, thick legs. In flight, they reveal long, fingered wings and fly with their necks outstretched. The Kori Bustard is the largest bustard and has a black crest, a long greyish neck, brown back and black-andwhite dappling on the bend of the wing. Among Kruger’s birds, it is second only to the Common Ostrich (page 58) in size, weighing 7–18 kg. Although it is uncommon, with a population of 100–250 individuals, due to its massive size and preference for open areas, it is a conspicuous species that is encountered regularly in the grassier open woodlands of Kruger. Although Kori Bustards rarely fly, when they do so, they remain low, flapping with slow and shallow wing beats; large males are among the heaviest flying birds in the world. Singles and pairs march slowly and purposefully across the savannah, picking large insects, small vertebrates and plant material off the ground and low bushes. Males make an almost inaudible low-frequency “doop” sound – like a base drum – that travels a great distance. They display in loose groups at leks, puffing out their throat plumes and cocking their tails like turkeys, making their necks look like giant white feather-dusters that can be visible at great distances. They also fight, pushing each other, charging and stabbing with their bills, to establish dominance. Several females mate with the most impressive male, thereafter departing to nest and raising their young alone. NT One of the BIG 6 Kori Bustard 66 Kori Bustards are known to follow antelope, preying on animals they disturb – and, in turn, are used as perches by bee-eaters and drongos, which feed on what the bustard itself flushes . Many predators hunt Kori Bustards, the most frequent being the huge Martial Eagle (page 188) . Kori Bustards have the unusual ability to suck up, rather than scoop, water to drink . BIRDS OF PLAINS AND OPEN WOODLANDS 67 ...