Black-bellied Bustard Eupodotis melanogaster
A medium-sized black-bellied Bustard with slender build, long legs, long, thin neck and rounded head. Male distinguished from smaller and short-necked Crested Bustard (E. ruficrista) by lack of crest, dark crown, black line round nape, whiter face, especially ear-coverts and area behind them, more extensive black on chin and upper throat, wider black neck streak; in flight much white in wings, with dark bar along centre of inner wing. Female has white belly (black in female Crested Bustard). This species is browner than the very similar Hartlaub's Bustard (E. hartlaubii), with brown rump, brown tail with distinct dark bars, and less contrasting plumage. Both species form a superspecies. Hartlaub's Bustard is stockier, with a plumage more crisply marked. Male is best distinguished by its black lower back, rump and uppertail-coverts, its dark tail with only indistinct barring; upperparts are black and white with arrow-shaped marks, and more white shows on closed wings. The crown presents white spots and the head pattern is usually different from the Black-bellied Bustard: a broad black line behind eye joins narrow black line round nape, a broad black line below eye circles down around grey chin. Female has similar contrasting plumage on upperparts and crown but lower back to tail grey (brown in female Black-bellied Bustard), tail with black bars; further differs from female Black-bellied by cream line down foreneck, rest of neck streaked or spotted, not vermiculated; breast and upper flanks shows blackish spots rather than fine vermiculations.
The female Black-bellied Bustard is larger and longer-necked than the stockier female White-bellied Bustard (E. senegalensis), with a neck uniform dull buff-brown with fine vermiculations, and underwing and flight-feathers mainly black with some white barring (underwing and much of flight-feathers white in female White-bellied Bustard).
Bird photographed in Mikumi Ntl Park, Tanzania, by Juha Koskinen.
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Bird photographed by Stéphane Moniotte, in Orkney Is.
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Bird photographed by Philippe de Woot.
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Bird photographed by Pierre Fiquet.
Bird photographed by ?
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