Causes of morbidity and mortality in captive kori bustards (ardeotis kori) in the United States

Rhea Hanselmann, Sara Hallager, Suzan Murray, Jonna A Mazet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The kori bustard (Ardeotis kori) is a popular avian resident of zoos and wild animal parks throughout North America and Europe. As this species' numbers continue to decline throughout its native African range, the need for its successful captive management becomes increasingly apparent. To this end, an understanding of the factors causing morbidity and mortality in the captive kori bustard population is critical. Here, the demographics, husbandry practices, and causes of morbidity and mortality of 94% of captive kori bustards (198 individuals) housed in zoos throughout the United States between 1988 and 2008 are described, and suggestions for captive management targets in this species are presented. The most common clinical and pathologic findings observed were lameness (48 cases), gastrointestinal parasitism (45 cases), and wing integumentary trauma (32 cases). Trauma was a very common cause of morbidity (135 cases) and was the most common cause of mortality (53 individuals, 40% of deceased animals). Considering the high prevalence of traumatic injury and death observed in this population, captive management of kori bustards should focus on developing strategies that minimize opportunity for injury. Priorities include preventing exposure to potentially hostile exhibit mates, decreasing stress associated with human interactions, and researching the effects of diet on skeletal development of young birds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)348-363
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • Ardeotis kori
  • captive management
  • Kori bustard
  • morbidity
  • mortality
  • trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)


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