Birds – Long-beaked Bustards

The only remaining group of Bustards proper that we shall mention are the so-called Long-beaked Bustards (Eupodotis), of which three species are found in Africa, and a single one each in the Indian peninsula and Australia. They belong to a section of the family in which the feathers of the lower throat and the fore neck are conspicuously elongated so as to form a shield overhanging the crop, and further the crown of the head is. strongly crested and the wing more than three times the length of the tarsus. The South African species, known as the Kori Bustard (E. kori), is a bird of great size, the male attaining a length of over four and one half feet and a weight of between thirty and forty pounds. It is mottled ashy gray above and white below, the neck with a half collar of black in front, and the top of the head with the crest long and black. In the Transvaal, Mr. Ayres found it a not uncommon bird, living principally among the scattered mimosa bushes, and from its great fondness for the gum of these bushes it has received from the Dutch inhabitants the name of Gum-Paauw. They are usually seen single, though sometimes in pairs, which accords with Andersson’s observations in Damara and Great Namaqua Land, who says: ” This Bustard is usually found in pairs, but sometimes three or four are to be found together. Its flight is heavy, but nevertheless very rapid, and at night when changing its feeding ground it may be seen flying at a very great height.” It feeds on insects, berries, reptiles, and the above-mentioned mimosa gum. In some parts of its range its flesh is regarded as excellent eating.