Red-crested Korhaan (Lophotis ruficrista [Eupodotis ruficrista])
French: Outarde houppette, Outarde à huppe rouge
Dutch: Zuid-Afrikaanse kuiftrap
The Red-crested Korhaan is a fairly large (50 cm) bird. The red crest that gives it its name is rarely seen unless you are observing a displaying male, in which case the elongated rufous feathers are erected to form a crest resembling that of the Grey Crowned Crane. Apart from this crest the male also has a bluish neck. The female has a mottled brown crown and neck and is less colourful with more white on the breast than the male. Both sexes have a black belly. Juveniles resemble the female.
Red-crested Korhaan can be confused with the female Northern Black Korhaan but is distinguished by the chevron-shaped markings (not barring) on the back.
It can fly but prefers to stay on the ground. They run better than they fly, and they hide better than they run: their camouflage allows them to completely blend into the background of the dense bushveld they prefer. This makes the bird not easy to spot despite being fairly common and widespread.
During the spring mating season the male of the Red-crested Korhaan performs a fascinating courtship display that starts off with a rapid vertical flight after which the wings are closed before it tumbles straight back to the ground. It normally lands quite professionally but crash landings have been reported.
They feed on any insects or small animals they can find, although they also have a distinct liking for plant fruits and seeds.
Some authorities consider the northern subspecies L. r. gindiana
to be a separate species: L. gindiana
; (Somali) Buff-crested Bustard.
Dry woodland, semi-desert grassland, and thornveld.
Like all bustards and korhaans, they are ground nesters and hide their nest very, very well. Eggs and chicks are extremely rare to find. Clutches vary from 1 - 5 eggs, incubated by the female.
The male's protracted call is a characteristic sound of the bushveld in summer. It starts with a series of clicks, "tic-tic-tic", building into an extended series of loud piping whistles, "pi-pi-pi... pipity-pipity". When you hear this call (for me personally the second half of the afternoon in spring, early summer has always been a good time), start looking in the general direction of the sound. Don't even bother to try and find the bird in the grass or the bushes but just keep looking. With a little luck you will see it fly up and perform its stunt dive.
Not globally threatened. In certain areas of sub-Sahara Africa, however, localised effects of loss of habitat are showing:
<...>a major tourist destination, and most come to view elephants. To make sure they do, ground water is mechanically pumped to attract animals throughout the year. There are now elephants in their tens of thousands beyond the natural carrying capacity of the park.
The vegetation around the waterholes becomes degraded from trampling and grassland is replaced with acacia woodland. As a result, species like the Crowned Crane are becoming increasingly rare. Even Guineafowl, Red-crested Korhaan and Saddle-billed Storks are suffering, while common species like the Lilac-breasted Roller and Pied Babbler are becoming increasingly common as acacia woodland expands.<...>
Source (Scroll down to Report on the Meeting of 14 October 1998.)