Black-bellied Bustard (Lissotis melanogaster)
aka Black-bellied Korhaan

The Black-bellied Bustard is a very large, 25" (63cm) bird, although small by Bustard standards. It has a long neck and legs, which trail behind when flying. It is a dark buff colour on top, with black and brown diamonds on its back and rump. The tail is the same colouring, but barred. As its name suggests, it has a black belly, extending as a thin line, bordered by white, up the neck, to the throat. The head is also buff-coloured, but with a darker buff cap, with white lores. Two black lines (post-ocular) join a black crest at the nape of its neck. It has dull yellow legs.
The female lacks any black on the head, neck or belly and is similar to Hartlaub's Bustard.

The Black-belled Bustard is a very shy bird, found in pairs, or family groups. It crouches down, rather than running, after being approached. Eventually, it will hide in grass, or fly. They are powerful fliers, although they never fly very high and are by nature, terrestrial birds.

The Black-bellied Bustard is an omnivore. It eats grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars and small vertebrates, but will also eat fruits, seeds and leaves.

Black-bellied Bustards are very common in Masai Mara region and other highland areas. Can be seen in West half of Kenya. It is found in woodland and tall open grassland, preferring areas of higher rainfall.

Extra Facts
During the breeding season (March - May), Black-bellied Bustard males perform an unusual display, usually from high ground. Standing with their necks raised, they then throw their heads back, making a "zaark" call, followed by a belch "poop". Flights, by the males, around their territories, are also a spectacle.
The female Black-bellied Bustard solely sits on the 'nest', which is a scraped out hollow in the ground.

Photographed in Masai Mara & Olare Orok Conservancy.

Categories & Keywords
Subcategory Detail:
Keywords:bird, black-bellied bustard, bustard, kenya, wildlife

Black-bellied Bustard ~ About to 'Perform'

A Black-bellied Bustard, head thrown back, about to voice its mating call.

Black-bellied Bustard ~ Between 'Performances'

A Black-bellied Bustard, between mating calls.

Black-bellied Bustard ~ Performing Mating Call

A Black-bellied Bustard, bill open, making a mating call.

Black-bellied Bustard ~ Walking

A Black-bellied Bustard, walking across a Conservancy in Kenya.