A right bustard

That’s not a typo in my title.

I want to introduce you to a male Kori Bustard in his pomp, but first some background. Here he is on an ordinary day, hanging out in the shade. He is the heaviest flying bird in Africa, up to 19Kg and stands about five feet tall. (Females are much smaller).

He walks through the long grass looking for insects, often followed by birds like this European Roller, waiting for things that fly up as he passes. The bustard is visible to the right of the Roller, behind the acacia bush:

But now in Nairobi National Park it is mating season, and a female is nearby. So he transforms himself. First, the tail goes up:

looking good from behind:

Then the wings are lowered to the ground, and he puffs out his neck:

And in the final result he looks for all the world like a monarch in floor length robes complete with coronet and train, and a neck ruff:

He even makes a deep booming drumroll to announce his presence. How could any girl resist?

PS I’m sure you noticed the raised train line in the background. Nairobi National Park is a wonderful place where I stayed for one night before my flight back, at The Emakoko lodge, (highly recommended) It is 30,000 acres right on the edge of Nairobi next to the airport, and a few years back they ran a new train line straight through it. They did at least raise it up high enough for giraffe to walk underneath, and apparently the animals are used to it now, and find it useful for shade. It was hugely controversial, as you can read here (the article is about a variety of threats to Kenya’s national parks, including this one):


3 thoughts on “A right bustard”

  1. So glad you introduced me to this fabulous Kori Bustard…what an awesome, feathered, irresistible guy! …..and soooooooo much larger than the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds flying around our yard & frequently buzzing me. What a delightful trip you had with all your wildlife encounters!


  2. I am so saddened by the development going on in the parks despite warnings from conservationists. Thanks for the link to the article.


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