'The Return of The Unmentionable Marauding Pillowcase' is a wildlife artist based in South Africa. He says "My aim is simply to express the beauty and wonder that is in Nature, and to heighten people's appreciation of plants, animals and the wilderness. Not everything I paint is African! Though I've never been there, I'm also fascinated by Asia and I've done paintings of Asian rhinos and birds as well. I may in future do some of European, Australian and American species too. I'm fascinated by wild things from all over the world! I mainly paint in watercolours ... but actually many media including 'digital' paintings with the computer!"
"This is a Kori Bustard, Ardeotis kori ('Gompou' is its name in Afrikaans) which occurs in dry regions of sub-Saharan Africa ... but not true desert. It has two centres of distribution: the first, around the Kalahari Desert of Southern Africa, the other, in the dry savannahs of Northeast Africa - Kenya, Ethiopia, and a bit of Tanzania. Kori Bustards need open regions, with sparse tree cover, where they stride around scanning the ground for food: seeds, fruit (like wild melons), large invertebrates, and small reptiles or mammals.
A striding Kori Bustard will often have a little passenger ... a beaufitul Carmine Bee-eater! These bright pink-red birds will fly at smaller insects flushed up from the grass by the striding bustard. Unfortunately the one I painted didn't have its passenger! Maybe I'll do another painting, this time with the Bee-eater!
The Kori Bustard is a contender for the heaviest flying bird species: large ones are known to reach 18 kg/40 lbs in weight, and there have been claims of ones over 22.5 kg/50 lbs. (The Great Bustard, Otis tarda, a relative from Europe and Asia, has been recorded at 21 kg/45 lbs.) It is not a tall bird, standing only about 120 cm/4 ft, but it is very sturdily built. As you can gather, this bird walks rather than flies, but it can take to the air ... albeit a bit cumbersomely ... when disturbed.
It is an awesome sight to see this bird displaying! It seems to inflate its neck like a balloon, while puffing up the feathers to show their white bases; it also raises its crest up high, drops its wings down while fanning them, and cocks its tail up over its back. A single male - if its display meets with approval - may mate with several females. But leaves them to raise the chicks on their own!".