The Karoo korhaan
) is endemic to southern Africa, with the largest numbers found in the shrubland of the Nama Karoo. The bird’s range extends from the Fish River in the Eastern Cape, the western Free State, through the Karoo to the southern half of Namibia. To the south it also occurs in cultivated fields on the Agulhas Plain which is where I saw my first one at a distance through a spotting scope... no good for a photograph!
The Karoo korhaan is regarded as robust as they remain in their arid, elected territory, irrespective of rainfall. They are territorial, spending their whole lives in their chosen area, in dry flat open country, rocky with sparse, low bushes.
The korhaan mainly eats invertebrates, reptiles and plant matter, doing most of its foraging by walking along the ground while plucking up food items. They are rarely seen at watering points and it is suggested that they get all the moisture they need from their diet.
They are monogamous, often breeding in family groups with a breeding pair and other helpers, who help to defend the territory. Their nest is a shallow scrape in the ground, usually among scattered shrubs and rocks. The egg-laying season is from June-February, peaking from December-January when it lays a single egg, that is incubated solely by the female, who sometimes temporarily leaves the nest to go foraging with the male. The chicks leave the nest soon after hatching.
I was fortunate with this sighting of a pair in the Karoo NP, surprising them next to the road. For some unknown reason they remained put, allowing me some close-up shots.
They are cryptically coloured, making them quite easy to miss in the dry areas they prefer.