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Otididae

Bustard
Southern Black Korhaan Afrotis afra ©Trevor Hardaker Website

The Otididae are a family that includes bustards, floricans and korhaans. They are large, terrestrial birds living mainly in dry grassland areas and on the steppes of the Old World. They range in length from 40cm to 150cm. They are omnivorous and opportunistic, eating leaves, buds, seeds, fruit, small vertebrates, and invertebrates.

They are all fairly large with the two largest species, the Kori Bustard Ardeotis kori and the Great Bustard Otis tarda, being frequently cited as the world's heaviest flying birds. In both the largest species, large males exceed a weight of 20kg and weigh around 13.5 kg on average and can attain a total length of 150cm. The smallest species is the Little Brown Bustard Eupodotis humilis, which is around 40cm long and weighs around 600g on average. In most bustards, males are substantially larger than females, often about 30% longer and sometimes more than twice the weight. They are among the most sexually dimorphic groups of birds. In only the floricans is the sexual dimorphism reverse, with the adult female being slightly larger and heavier than the male.

Their wings have 10 primaries and 16–24 secondary feathers. There are 18–20 feathers in the tail. The plumage is predominantly cryptic.

Bustards are omnivorous, feeding principally on seeds and invertebrates. They make their nests on the ground, making their eggs and offspring often very vulnerable to predation. They walk steadily on strong legs and big toes, pecking for food as they go. Most prefer to run or walk over flying. They have long broad wings with 'fingered' wingtips, and striking patterns in flight. Many have interesting mating displays, such as inflating throat sacs or elevating elaborate feathered crests. The female lays three to five dark, speckled eggs in a scrape in the ground, and incubates them alone.

Bustards are gregarious outside the breeding season, but are very wary and difficult to approach in the open habitats they prefer.

According to the IOC there are 26 extant species of Bustards, Korhaans and Floricans in the familly Otididae; they are:

Family Links

Bustards Otididae

IBC Family Account

Large to medium-sized stocky terrestrial birds, with long neck and legs…

Bustards Otididae

HBW Family Account

Annotated species list

Bustards Otididae

Family Account

The bustards are a distinctive Old World family that diverged from cranes 70 million years ago. Some 24 species inhabit grassland or semi-deserts in Africa and Asia; a final species exists in grasslands of Australasia

Bustards Otididae

Family Account

Bustards, including floricans and korhaans, are large, terrestrial birds living mainly in dry grassland areas and on the steppes of the Old World. They range in length from 40 to 150 cm (16 to 59 in). They make up the family Otididae (formerly known as Otidae). Bustards are omnivorous and opportunistic, eating leaves, buds, seeds, fruit, small vertebrates, and invertebrates.

Species Links

Black-bellied Bustard Eupodotis melanogaster

BirdLife Species Account

BirdLife species profile…

Black-bellied Bustard Eupodotis melanogaster

Species Account

The black-bellied bustard (Lissotis melanogaster), also known as the black-bellied korhaan, is an African ground-dwelling bird in the bustard family. Some authorities[1] place it in the genus Eupodotis.

Black-bellied Bustard Eupodotis melanogaster

HBW Species Account

Great Bustard Otis tarda

IBC Species Account

…Birds of C Asia formerly awarded separate race korejewi, but extensive overlap with nominate tarda. Two subspecies recognized…

Great Bustard Otis tarda

Species Account

The great bustard (Otis tarda) is a bird in the bustard family, the only member of the genus Otis. It breeds in open grassland and farmland in southern and central Europe, and across temperate Asia.

Great Bustard Otis tarda

BirdLife Species Account

Great Bustard Otis tarda

IUCN Species Status

Great Bustard Otis tarda

HBW Species Account

Great Bustard Otis tarda

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Kori Bustard Ardeotis kori

Species Account

The kori bustard (Ardeotis kori) is the largest flying bird native to Africa. It is a member of the bustard family, which all belong to the order Gruiformes and are restricted in distribution to the Old World. It is one of the four species (ranging from Africa to India to Australia) in the large-bodied Ardeotis genus. In fact, the male kori bustard may be the heaviest living animal capable of flight.

Kori Bustard Ardeotis kori

BirdLife Species Account

BirdLife species account…

Kori Bustard Ardeotis kori

IUCN Species Status

Kori Bustard Ardeotis kori

HBW Species Account

Kori Bustard Ardeotis kori

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 26

Useful Reading

Propagation of the Houbara Bustard

by Michel Saint Jalme And Yolanda Van Heezik published by National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development, Saudi Arabia

ISBN: 0710305184

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Organisations

Great Bustard Group

Website

The Great Bustard Project - re-introduction into the UK…