I love bustards. They are attractive regal looking birds that scream African savannah to me, even if the first I ever saw was in Australia.  They are proud stalkers of the plains that are every bit as fierce-some as the dinosaur ancestors they evoke in the mind’s eye. And if you like bustards, you could do a lot worse than the plains, deserts, fynbos and grasslands of Southern Africa, which hold a number of species including several endemics.

black korhaan

One such endemic is the Southern Black Bustard (or Southern Black Korhaan, as small bustards in South Africa are known as korhaans) This species has a pretty restricted distribution, confined to the fynbos scrubland around Cape Town in Southern Africa’s Western Cape. It’s not even a spectacularly hard species to find, if you know where to look, and with a guide I was able to find one pretty quickly about an hour north of the city. As localised endemics go, it’s a pretty sweet species to pick up on a visit. This individual was located on a small road off the main coast road north of the city, less than a hundred metres from the road. There were also several others around calling.

southern black bustardSouthern Black Bustard

img_5877They called a lot on my visit


img_5862A great bird to see in the wild!

Written by Duncan
Duncan Wright is a Wellington-based ornithologist working on the evolution of New Zealand's birds. He's previously poked albatrosses with sticks in Hawaii, provided target practice for gulls in California, chased monkeys up and down hills Uganda, wrestled sharks in the Bahamas and played God with grasshopper genetics in Namibia. He came into studying birds rather later in life, and could quit any time he wants to.