Family Bustards (Otididae)

Least Concern

Black-bellied Bustard (Lissotis melanogaster)


French: Outarde à ventre noir German: Schwarzbauchtrappe Spanish: Sisón ventrinegro común

Otis melanogaster


, 1835,

Lake Tsana, Ethiopia


Closely related to L. hartlaubii. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. m. melanogaster (Rüppell, 1835) – Africa S of Sahel S to R Zambezi and S Angola (absent from regions of heavy forest and from most of Horn of Africa).
  • L. m. notophila Oberholser, 1905 – Zimbabwe and Mozambique S of R Zambezi to extreme E South Africa and Swaziland.
  • Descriptive notes

    Male 60 cm, 1800–2700 g; female 60 cm, 1400 g. Upperparts tawny buff, with large dark arrow-shaped blotches, tail brown with four thin dark bars; face greyish white... read more


    Rather silent. However, breeding male gives an advertising call from some elevated prominence; a... read more


    Tall dense open grassland, grassland with bushes, and savanna woodland (including miombo woodland... read more

    Food and feeding

    Forages singly, or in pairs during the breeding season. Takes chiefly insects, apparently mostly beetles, but also grasshoppers, bugs,... read more


    Male display includes a flight with deliberate wingbeats, alighting with raised wings after a glide. June–September in sub-Sahel,... read more


    Both sedentary and at least partially migratory. Situation in Ghana unclear, where resident in area... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Global population size unknown. Decrease in Senegal and Gambia since 1980, but apparently still common in savanna zone of N... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2020). Black-bellied Bustard (Lissotis melanogaster). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 23 February 2020).