The heaviest flying bird eats poisonous snakes - Namibia Safari and Lodges - Gondwana Collection

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Gondwana's Newsroom

The heaviest flying bird eats poisonous snakes

Avatar of bernd bernd - 13. March 2018 - Environment

Dirk Heinrich

Kori Bustards are common in Namibia and often seen walking across grasslands looking for food. They eat anything from grasshoppers, caterpillars, locusts, dung beetles and termites to scorpions, solifuges, lizards, bird eggs and nestlings – as well as snakes. This kori bustard found a young shield-nosed snake (Aspidelaps scutatus) and grabbed the poisonous reptile behind the head. After killing it by holding the snake in its bill and constantly pecking it, the bird eventually swallowed its prey whole. Kori bustards also feed on carrion like road kills and on seeds, berries, bulbs, flowers, wild melons, green leaves and resin from acacia trees. That is where they got their Afrikaans name from: Gompou (Resin bustard). 

The Ju//Hoansi San use acacia resin as bait with their self-made snares to catch kori bustards, because the large birds seem unable to resist the small resin balls. Although bustards are a protected species people do eat them.

Kori bustards can also be observed at waterholes. They have been seen chasing away antelope like springbok and oryx from the water. The up to 1.5 metre tall birds have to crouch when drinking. 

Kori bustards are the heaviest flying birds. A big male can weigh up to 20 kilograms. The average weight of males is 12.4 kg, however, and that of females 5.7 kg. They are classified as vulnerable. Their biggest enemy are power lines because bustards seem to only look down when flying and not forward. More power lines mean more unnatural deadly obstacles for these big birds.

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