The Ruppell’s korhaan, previously known as the Ruppell’s bustard, is near endemic to the southern African region where it is limited in distribution to the dry, sandy and gravel plains of the Namib Desert in the west of Namibia, where the vegetation is sparse. Indeed, in Afrikaans it is known as the “woestynkorhaan” or “desert korhaan”. They are often seen along the sides of the quiet gravel roads in the Namib-Naukluft National Park, or along the Skeleton Coast in Namibia.
A large bird with a length of approximately 53 cm, the males and females are similar in plumage colouration and the males are a little larger than the females. Crown and neck are blue-grey and the rest of the upperparts are sandy-brown. Under parts are whitish. Eyes are brown, legs yellow and the bill is black with yellowish-pink base.
Ruppell’s korhaans are usually found in pairs or small family groups and are omnivorous feeders, eating insects, small reptiles and vegetable matter. They feed while walking slowly forward and peck at the ground ahead of their feet. Their call is a deep, frog-like croak, usually taking the form of a duet.
Ruppell’s korhaans are monogamous and one to three cream or buff eggs are laid directly on the rocky ground without the benefit of a nest, although a shallow scrape may be prepared to contain the eggs.
The scientific binomial for the Ruppell’s korhaan is Eupodotis rueppellii; Eupodotis from the Greek for a “small bustard” and rueppellii after the German explorer Wilhelm Ruppell. Thus Ruppell’s small bustard, which is not very descriptive, but an accurate name nevertheless.