Buff-crested Bustard

  • SCIENTIFIC NAME: Eupodotis gindiana

  • SWAHILI NAME: Tandawala

A male buff-crested bustard trying to attract a female has three ways to put on a show: He can stand at attention and screech; he can strut around a female while uttering a low clicking that becomes a screech; or he can become an aerial acrobat. He rockets straight up, then partially somersaults and “falls” with wings closed, head back, crest erect, and chest puffed out, waiting until the last moment to pull out of the dive.

Buff-crested Bustard

Buff-crested Bustard



Daily Rhythm




Conservation Status

Lower risk


1.5 to 2.0 lb (0.7 to 1.0 kg)


21 in (54 cm) long

Buff-crested Bustard

Trivia Question

Bustards are masters of flirtation. What is NOT one of the ways male bustards attract females?


Bustards court females by performing aerial acrobatics (zooming into the sky then dive bombing), standing at attention and screeching, or strutting around her while calling. They do not woo females with bowers.


Tracks: Three stout toes with blunt claws; middle toe often leaves a "drag" mark (not shown); rear mark is part of the foot, not a toe.

Buff-crested Bustard tracks

Social Structure

Buff-crested bustards are found in pairs or family groups.


Male calls are a loud and piercing series of kri-kri.


Buff-crested bustards are terrestrial birds that are also strong fliers. They spend the day ground-feeding and dust-bathing.


Buff-crested bustards are omnivorous, eating insects as well as vegetation.


A female buff-crested bustard scratches a shallow nest on the ground and lays a single egg, which she incubates on her own for 20 to 23 days. Her coloring helps her blend with her environment.

Population in Kenya

Buff-crested bustards prefer the dry bush and thorn-scrub areas of Kenya. They are absent from the highlands and moister western regions.

Range & Habitat

Buff-crested bustards live in dry, semiarid regions of northeastern Africa in a range that encompasses Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, and Tanzania.

Did you know?

Buff-crested bustards lack a hind toe, so they cannot perch.