Family Bustards (Otididae)

Near Threatened

Denham's Bustard (Neotis denhami)


French: Outarde de Denham German: Kafferntrappe Spanish: Avutarda cafre
Other common names: Stanley Bustard (stanleyi), Burchell's Bustard (“burchellii”)

Otis Denhami

Children and Vigors

, 1826,

near Lake Chad


In the past, present species was at times known as N. cafra, but, owing to confusion in nomenclature with Eupodotis senegalensis (see below), name cafra was officially suppressed#R. May form a species pair with N. heuglinii. Includes “burchellii”, known only from type specimen (E Sudan) and now considered an aberrant dark individual or morph. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • N. d. denhami (Children & Vigors, 1826) – Senegambia E to N Uganda and W Ethiopia; rarely recorded, in rainy season, in SW Mauritania#R and W Senegambia#R.
  • N. d. jacksoni Bannerman, 1930 – Kenya and W Tanzania S to SE DRCongo, Zambia, N Botswana and N Zimbabwe; non-breeding visitor to S Congo, W DRCongo and SW Angola#R#R.
  • N. d. stanleyi (J. E. Gray, 1831) – South Africa and Swaziland; non-breeding visitor to Lesotho#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    Male 100 cm, 9000–10,000 g; female 80 cm, 3000 g. Upperparts dull brown with fine black vermiculations, tail with several creamy bars; large panel on folded wing... read more


    Mostly silent. Known to give a guttural, barking 'khha khha' call . Displaying male emits a deep... read more


    Grasslands including high plateau downland up to 3000 m, grassy Acacia-studded dunes,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Wide range of foods recorded, including many different arthropods (in places nymphal stages of invasive Orthoptera), small vertebrates and... read more


    Breeding schedule unclear in many areas, possibly reflecting opportunism based on rainfall; Jun–Oct in Sahel; nuptial display in Jan... read more


    Nominate denhami migrates N generally in May–Jun but as late as Aug; returns Sept... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. CITES II. Global population is unknown but thought to be undergoing moderately rapid global population... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2018). Denham's Bustard (Neotis denhami). 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 24 March 2018).