You are currently viewing Bustard species from common to rare in East Africa
Denham's Bustard is one of the rare species. Photo by Lorenzo Barelli

Bustard species from common to rare

Bustards – Ordnung Otidiformes are large birds. They feed on the ground but all can fly even the heaviest bird on land the Kori Bustard. Males can reach around 20 kg. They live in savanna and dry bush land. They are opportunistic feeders and eat fruits, herbs, seeds, fruits, invertebraetes, small reptiles and rodents. There are currently world wide 26 recognized species

The nest is built on the ground exposing them to predators. The female lays 3 – 5 dark speckled eggs. The mating display is amazing. In flight they show their long fingered wing tips.

Having evolved around 30 Mio years ago either in East or Southern Africa from where they dispersed makes them an old order. Some species got extinct. A number of current species are near threatened or threatened due to loss of habitat. Some species are quite common, others rare and need to be found with patience and luck.

Bustards – Family Otididae

These omnivorous birds are mainly found in grassland, savanna and semi deserts. In some species sexual dimorphism is well visible.

Click on the photo for larger view. The names of the photographers are on the photo and in the text. Those without name are from Elvira Wolfer.

To give you as actual information as possible we use Avibase, the books “Birds of South of the Sahara”, “Birds of East Africa”, “Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania”. Then we put the most characteristic information to the photo.

You can also follow us on Facebook “Bird photography Safaris Kenya” and see the numerous species as well as the beautiful photos from Lorenzo Barelli.

Denham’s (Stanley’s) Bustard (Neotis denhami jacksoni) is the subspecies found in Western and Central Kenya, Northwestern Uganda and Southwestern Tanzania. They live in open grassland and are uncommon. Status: near threatened. Photo Lorenzo Barelli

Heuglin’s Bustard (Neotis heuglini) is endemic to the horn of Africa, from Eritrea, N Somalia and Northern Kenya to Tsavo East. Photo is taken by Elvira Wolfer near Lake Turkana

Arabian Bustard (Ardeotis arabs butleri) is found in South Sudan and rarely in semi arid plains in Northwestern Kenya. Photo Adam Scott Kennedy. Status: near threatened

Buff-crested Bustard (Lophotis gindiana) is endemic to the Horn of Africa to Southwestern Tanzania and inhabits dry acacia scrub land.

Kori Bustard (Ardeotis kori struthiunculus) is the subspecies in East Africa in savanna, semi deserts and grassland. Status: near threatened

Black-bellied Bustard (Lissotis m. melanogaster) is widespread in lightly wooded areas and open grassland. It is quite common. The female is brownish.

Hartlaub’s Bustard (Lissotis hartlaubii) is a Northeastern African endemic. It is found in drier, more open grassland than Black-bellied Bustard. In some regions both occur and they are not easy to differentiate. Females are very alike.

Northern White-bellied Bustard (Eupodotis senegalensis erlangeri) SW Kenya to Central Tanzania. It is found in Masai Mara and Serengeti. It is slightly darker than canicollis. Photo Lorenzo Barelli

Northern White-bellied Bustard (Eupodotis senegalensis canicollis) Kenya, NE Uganda, NE Tanzania in grassland and savanna. Photo Lorenzo Barelli