Family Bustards (Otididae)

Least Concern

Karoo Bustard (Heterotetrax vigorsii)


French: Outarde de Vigors German: Knarrtrappe Spanish: Sisón del Karroo
Other common names: Karoo Korhaan, Vigors's Bustard, Black-throated Bustard

Otis Vigorsii

A. Smith

, 1831,

South Africa


Forms a parapatric species pair with H. rueppelii, with which frequently considered conspecific. Name scolopacea possibly an earlier name for namaqua; further investigation required#R. Proposed races barlowi (from SC Namibia) and harei (E Namibia) regarded as synonyms of namaqua; karrooensis (Western Cape) synonymized with nominate. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • H. v. namaqua Roberts, 1932 – S Namibia and NW South Africa.
  • H. v. vigorsii (A. Smith, 1831) – SW South Africa.
  • Descriptive notes

    60 cm; male 1600 g, female 1350 g. Head, neck and upperparts greyish brown with minute dark vermiculations, paling to pinkish white on belly; chin and throat black with thin... read more


    Most frequently heard in morning, when pairs utter croaking notes in duet, rendered "kirr-reck... read more


    Arid, flat gravel or sandy plains with scattered dwarf shrubs (karoo and scrub zones), ranging into... read more

    Food and feeding

    Chiefly plant matter, with flowers of Asteraceae, Brassicaceae and Mesembryanthemaceae dominant at certain times of year, but many annual... read more


    Aug–Mar (mainly Oct–Nov) in South Africa. Mating system presumably monogamy, but pairs or family groups of up to five birds... read more


    Sedentary and broadly site-faithful, with pairs defending a movable territory year-round; however,... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Generally common, and possibly even profiting from human agricultural activity, since it favours slightly degraded... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N., Kirwan, G.M. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2019). Karoo Bustard (Heterotetrax vigorsii). 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 26 June 2019).