Kori Courtship – February 2009

Shot of the Month – February 2009

This month I offer a scene emblematic of the primary holiday of the season (sorry to disappoint all you Ground Hog day fans) – Valentines Day.

In this romantic scene we have the male Kori Bustard courting a female.  As part of the courtship he provided her with a steady stream of grasshoppers.  He seemed quite adept at this as I saw him give her 3 tasty morsels in just a few minutes.  Apparently some males offer snakes as large as 2.5 feet in length as gifts!

Kori Bustards have dramatic courtship rituals where the male will stand straight as an arrow on the top of a small hill and inflate his esophagus to create a brilliant white plume around his neck, as shown on the left.

When walking he will also lift up his tail to highlight the white feathers (as shown in the photo to the right).  All this is to make a striking visual display.  He will sometimes emit a low pitched boom to add sound effects to the spectacle.

All this commotion can attract several females.  Alas, it must be told that the male Kori Bustard is polygynous – a nice way of saying that he will mate with as many of the fine ladies as he can.  And once courtship is complete, the female is left to her own devices in raising the young.

For all you celebrating cupid’s day might I suggest chocolate or flowers over grasshoppers, and avoid that polygynousness.


Happy Valentines Day!