Kori Bustard (Ardotis kori)
(photo coming soon)
Conservation Status: Least Concern
Habitat: South and Eastern African grasslands and wooded areas
Physical characteristics: Long neck grey neck and head, long beak, As a species, the kori bustard is the world's heaviest flying bird, the males weighing up to about 18 kg (39.6 lbs). They display sexual dimorphism, as males may weigh up to twice the weight of females, though they have similar plumage.
Lifespan: The longest recorded lifespan is 26 years in captivity, and there is approximately 86% mortality rate amoungst chicks in the wild.
One of 25 species of bustard, like other bustard species the kori kustard does not typically engage well with humans and will shy away from human contact. Generally they remain silent, however if alarmed they will make a loud barking sound, as well as displaying a "shock display" where the bird bends forward with its tail feathers lifted and spreading out its wings to appear larger than its actual size to predators.
Their omnivorous diet consists largely of insects, however they also sometimes feed on smaller vertebrates such as lizards, snakes, birds, and small mammals. They also eat fruits including berries (and Tsamma Melons, see "What animals (besides humans) eat watermelons and pumpkins?" post), as well as nuts and Acacia tree gum (hence its alternate name Gompou' which means "gum eating"). They also have the rare habit of sucking up water when drinking. Its predators include eagles, lions, and jackals. Carine bee-eaters (Merops nubicus and Merops nubicodes) will sometimes perch on the back of an active kori bustard and eat the bugs disturbed by the bustard's activity, and may help the bustard detect predators.
In courtship, the male will inflate his esophagus (up to a peak of four times its regular size), point his crest up and his wing and tail feathers down, and make a low booming noise to attract a female. Males will often perform this together in a group. The rearing of chicks is up to the mother, whose nest is a scrape in the ground with an in-captivity incubation period of 23 days.
Smithsonian National Zoological Park