KORI BUSTARD; THE HEAVIEST FLYING BIRD IN AFRICA
The Kori Bustard is one of the remarkable bird species that have for long drawn a range of international birders to travel to Africa including planning birding safaris to Uganda to explore these gigantic birds.
Weighing up to 19kg in size, standing up to 120cm in height and stretching up to 150cm in length, the Kori Bustard is noted to be the heaviest flying bird featuring a long foot marked by three (3) fingers with grey plumage and long neck. The neck, throat and chin appear as creamy white intermingled with black bands. The bird’s under parts are buff colored featuring dark brown vermiculations. The tail feature white and grayish brown bands and these same features appear on the flight feathers while the shoulder features white and black pattern as always viewed on birding safaris and tours in Uganda.
Regarding the diet, the Kori Bustard is an Omnivore feeding on both animals like snakes and lizards and the plant like berries. The chicks of the Kori bustard feed greatly on insects and also consume gum from acacia tree. Amazingly the Kori bustard use sucking motion to drink water other than scooping with the bill that is common in other birds. It is another impressive encounter to explore on birding safari tour in Uganda.
Regarding the breeding, the Kori Bustard are polygamous species. The male would inflate the neck and trail its wings dancing in front of the female and some of them go ahead and ruffle their feathers forming like a big white ball. The males can as well produce a booming sound or bow toward the female as it inflates the bill. At this moment, the female notices the male and this behavior is often demonstrated early morning or in the evening. The males do not engage in raising the young while the females keep on the nest for much of the time only departing to feed for short periods. The reproduction among these species occurs once in a year and takes around 23 – 30 days. The nest is not thick and the eggs can even be laid on ground. Their eggs can at times be viewed by birders on birding tours in Uganda.
The Kori Bustard dwell much on ground and can fly only where necessary as a result of their weight. They feature an extended life span and slow breeding process and can keep in the same locality for a long time provided food is sufficient. They prefer to dwell in lightly wooden savannah and open grassland.
In Uganda, the Kori Bustard is found in Kidepo Valley National Park.