Birda Logo
Species Guide
A photo of a Black-bellied Bustard (Lissotis melanogaster), male
Black-bellied Bustard, Male

Black-bellied Bustard

Lissotis melanogaster

The Black-bellied Bustard, known scientifically as Lissotis melanogaster, is a striking ground-dwelling bird native to the African continent. Males are distinguished by their size, measuring between 58 to 65 centimeters in length, and their dramatic plumage. Their upperparts are adorned with black and brown markings on a tawny buff background, while their underparts are a stark black. The head is a bold mosaic of black, white, and buff, and the neck is a buffy brown with a slender black line that descends to join the black breast. Their tails are patterned with brown and buff, featuring several narrow dark brown bands. The wings, when at rest, reveal a white upper surface with a brown triangle at the base, and the flight feathers are tipped with black, save for the outer secondary feathers which are unmarked.

Identification Tips

To identify the Black-bellied Bustard, look for the male's distinctive black underparts and the contrasting white of the wings. The female, however, is more subtly adorned in plain buff with brown mottling on her back and wavy bands on her neck and breast. Juveniles appear duller with a dark grey crown and buff wing spots. Both sexes have a unique neck and rump pattern, and the male's white chin and lores, as well as the female's vermiculations, help distinguish them from the closely related Hartlaub's Bustard.


This species thrives in the savannas, cultivated fields, and tall open grasslands of sub-Saharan Africa. It shows a preference for regions with higher rainfall and is often found in areas only after significant precipitation.


The Black-bellied Bustard is distributed across sub-Saharan Africa, with sightings in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Tanzania, and Nigeria.


The Black-bellied Bustard exhibits typical bustard feeding habits. During courtship, the male performs a captivating display, retracting his head to his back and emitting a distinctive "zhweeeeee" whistle, followed by a "quock" or "plop" sound accompanied by soft gurgling.

Diet and Feeding

An omnivorous bird, the Black-bellied Bustard's diet consists of a variety of invertebrates, including beetles, grasshoppers, cockroaches, and ants. It also partakes in a selection of vegetables, fruits such as berries, as well as flowers, seeds, and green leaves.

Conservation status

The Black-bellied Bustard is currently listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, indicating that, at present, there are no immediate threats to its population numbers that would warrant a higher level of concern.

Black-bellied Bustard Sounds

Recorded by: © 
App logo
Birda is a birdwatching app and community aimed at curious people who want to deepen their connection with nature.

Black-bellied Bustards on Birda


More Bustards

A photo of a Southern Black Korhaan (Afrotis afra) , male

Southern Black Korhaan

Afrotis afra
Birda Logo

Your birdwatching journey like never before

Connect with nature in minutes
Take a walk, look out of the window and log the birds that you see. Feel good about those little connections to nature.
Discover the joy of birding
Find new birding spots, see more birds, share and celebrate with a like-minded community of nature lovers.
Play your part in saving nature
Logging your birding sightings and sessions turns into positive action for our planet. Every sighting counts.

Birda Blog

What Our Birders Say
Jake W
Great app
I use this app all the time as it’s quick and easy to log individual sightings or whole birding sessions. It’s an excellent way to meet new people and the forum is full of really friendly people. The challenges are a great way to get involved and learn more about birds. Cannot recommend it enough!
Safira V
Birding and wellbeing app
Birda is an excellent platform to share your love of Birding and is a great tool of encouragement for a Birding Beginner like me. Birda has a very kind and supportive community of Birding enthusiasts. For me BIRDA is not only a BIRDING but also a WELLBEING App.
Robred 2
Fun way to add to your birdwatching experience
I enjoy watching birds in my backyard, but this app helped me really pay attention while on vacation this summer. It was fun to add new birds to my bird watching app.
Mike T
Sense of Community
A great app, which is continually being improved. What really comes through is the passion of those behind the app. The sense of community is brilliant, so much help and support provided to new and/or in experienced birders.
Great App
Great app to use for logging and communicating with others who are interested in birds
Jane N
A great app
Enjoying it immensely and finding it useful too. Recording the different birds and counting them is showing me how the present climate is affecting them all. I've trebled the numbers by planting native hedging. A great app.
Really great app
It’s easy to use and it’s fun to log the birds you notice on a walk or just in your garden. There’s a option to record the birds you see in a session which is really nice. Good excuse to stop for a while and just watch birds. I am also enjoying the information part where you can find out fact about birds from all over the world.
Alice J
Awesome Birding Community
I absolutely love the community aspect of this app. The app is so user friendly and has fun interactive challenges to get you out birding. I’ve tried others but since I’ve started using Birda I’ve not gone back!
Bryan C
Clean and easy to use
Really enjoying this app, it's clean and easy to use. I love the ease of being able to add those one-off birds without starting a whole checklist. I also like the social aspect, like the parts of my Facebook I like, without the ads and junk, just birds. Can't wait to see it become more populated.
Alex J
Friendly and helps to identify birds
Great birding app, good for logging your sightings, also has nice species guide. I'm enjoying the social aspect more than I expected, everyone seems friendly and helps to identify unknown birds. Good mix of newbies and experienced users.
As featured in
Birda Logo
AboutPressAmbassadorsAffiliatesInfluencersCareersPrivacyTerms & Conditions
An app for birdwatchers
Connect with us
Copyright © 2024 Chirp Birding. All rights reserved.