Habitat: Dry, open grasslands and wooded savannas
Range: Southern and eastern Africa
For centuries, humans have appreciated the unique beauty of the kori bustard. From cave drawings to the songs and dances of some African tribes, the large bird has long been valued by the human race. The Fort Worth Zoo is proud to continue that tradition of appreciation for the kori bustard with the birth of five chicks this summer.
While the kori bustard is one of the heaviest flying birds with a wingspan of over four feet, it prefers to walk rapidly instead of flying. Notably, the kori bustard shares a symbiotic relationship with the Carmine bee-eaters, small birds that perch on their backs. While the bee-eaters enjoy the insects kicked up by foraging kori bustards, they also serve to alert kori bustards to potential predators when they are startled.
The male kori bustard usually lives a solitary life until the breeding season, at which time he will begin courting. To attract a female, the male will “balloon” display or inflate its esophagus four times its normal size. With his neck expanded, wing feathers pointed down and his crest and tail feathers standing up, the male will snap his bill open and shut making a low-pitched booming noise. After breeding, the male will leave the female to incubate the eggs and raise the chicks.