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Black Bustard - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Mustafa Adamjee
West Coast National Park, South Africa, December 2019

Alternative name: Southern Black Korhaan

Afrotis afra

Eupodotis afra


Length 50-53 cm (19¾-20¾ in)
The eyes are brown, the bill is red with a grey tip, and the legs are yellow.

Adult male: The head and neck are black, except for the white cheek patches, brown crown, and white edges to the crown. A white collar accross the mantle extends to the sides of the breast. The remainder of the underparts are black. The folded wings are barred black and brown (black bars broader than brown) and have broad white edges.


In flight the primaries are black.

Adult female: The head, neck and breast are brown, with black bars on the crown and neck; there is no white collar accross the mantle. Otherwise similar to the male.

Female Black Bustard
Photo © by russkie
Langebaan, Western Cape, South Africa, January 2008

Similar species

The closely related White-quilled Bustard has primaries that are predominantly white (obvious in flight), and the black and brown bars on the upper parts are similar in width.


Western and southern South Africa. A country endemic.


This is a monotypic species[3].

  • Formerly contained White-quilled Bustard (E. afraoides). Separated on the basis of differences in genetics, voice and plumage.1,2

Afrotis vs. Eupodotis

Some authorities (Clements 2010) place Black Bustard (afra) and White-quilled Bustard (afraoides) in the genus Eupodotis. However, Dickinson (2003) and Gill & Donsker (2010) place these two taxa in Afrotis.


Male display
Photo © by Mark Bruce
Addo Elephant National Park, Eastern Cape, South Africa, November 2007

Fynbos and Karoo scrub and shrublands.


Usually solitary. Forages while walking; eats insects, reptiles, seeds and green shoots.


Polygynous and a solitary nester. One or two eggs are laid directly on the ground where the incubating female is concealed by the vegetation. The young are cared for by the female.


A harsh krr-ack krr-ack by the male during displays.


  1. Crowe T.M., M.F. Essop, D.G. Allan, R.K. Brooke & J. Komen. 1994. "Overlooked units of comparative and conservation biology: a case study of a small African bustard, the Black Korhaan, Eupodotis afra." The Ibis. (136) 166-75.
  2. Hockey, PAR, WRJ Dean, and PG Ryan, eds. 2005. Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa. 7th ed. Cape Town: John Voelcker Bird Book Fund. ISBN 978-0620340533
  3. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  4. Dickinson, EC, ed. 2003. The Howard and Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World. 3rd ed., with updates to October 2008 (Corrigenda 8). Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0691117010
  5. Sibley, CG and BL Monroe. 1996. Birds of the World, on diskette, Windows version 2.0. Charles G. Sibley, Santa Rosa, CA, USA.

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