Sexual maturity for females is around three years both in the wild and in captivity. Males reach sexual maturity at three years in captivity and unknown in the wild.

Males mate with more than one female during the breeding season (polygynous). Breeding occurs between December and August for the eastern subspecies and September to February for the southern subspecies.

During breeding season, males gather either singly or in loose formations, called leks, and perform "ballon" displays to attract females. Displays can occur throughout the day, but are usually most intense in the early morning and late afternoon/evening. During the height of the display, males will inflate their esophagus to as much as four times its normal size (resembling a balloon). With the neck expanded, the tail and wing feathers pointed downward, and the crest erected, the male gives a low-pitched booming noise as he snaps his bill open and shut. The balloon display can be seen up to 1.5 miles away! Females are presumabley attracted to the male with the most superior display. After copulation, the male leaves and resumes displaying to attract another female. Males do not assist in egg incubation or chick rearing. Outside of breeding season, kori bustards are generally solitary animals except for females with chicks.

Nest and Eggs

The female builds a nest by making a shallow scrape in the ground and lays her eggs. The nest is usually near a small clump of grass so the female is partially hidden. The clutch is usually one or two eggs. In captivity, incubation period is 23 days. The precocial chicks are able to follow their mother around several hours after hatching and remain with her until the start of the next year's breeding season.

Natural History

Kori bustard, Ardeotis kori

​Subspecies: Ardeotis kori kori (southern) & Ardeotis kori struthinuculus

Physical characteristics

Color: Mottled grayish-buff with dark brown, irregular lines and a black crest. The chin, throat, and neck are creamy white mixed with black bands. The southern subspecies is slightly taller than the eastern subspecies. Males and females look similar in color. 

Height: Males stand about 4.5' tall and females half the size of males with slimmer necks and legs.

Weight: Males of the eastern subspecies weigh between 15-31 lb,  females weigh 3 - 6 lb. Males of the southern subspecies weigh between 29-40 lb; females weigh 13-15 lb. Males are some of the heaviest flying birds! 

Jackals, hyenas, lions, eagles, leopards, caracals, and humans. Kori bustards prefer to run away from any danger, although they will fly.

Omnivorous (eat both animal and vegetable substances) with insects the majority of their diet.  They will also consume small vertebrates such as mammals, lizards, snakes and birds. Seeds and berries are also eaten as well as the gum from Acacia trees, earning them the name "Gompou" (Africaans for, "gum-eating bird"). Kori bustards feed mostly in the early morning and late afternoon and rest during the heat of the day.