Very little is known about the Rüppell’s korhaan (Eupodotis rueppellii). This small bustard species is endemic to the rocky plains and hillsides of northwest Namibia. Sandy brown on the top with white below, these korhaans are reluctant fliers, territorial, and usually found in pairs, or a pair with a juvenile. Considered to be more common in the southern Namib, many maps of the species’ range do not include the northern Namib. Yet, any of the Lion Rangers can tell you that these birds are relatively common. Often our mornings in the field begin with the low croak of these korhaans calling to one another. It only takes one morning to understand why they are colloquially known as the ‘Damara frog.’
Beginning in March, Lion Ranger Lead Field Assistant Jendery Tsaneb began his own project monitoring the grouping patterns and movements of Rüppell’s korhaan around our base at Wereldsend. A life-long resident of northwest Namibia, Jendery was surprised to find that little is known of these birds outside the area. Taking initiative, Jendery has been spending countless early mornings – when he is not otherwise helping respond to human-lion conflict incidents – carefully observing four resident pairs of Rüppell’s korhaan along the gravel plains near Wereldsend. Jendery’s photos, GPS points, and diligent field notes are starting to uncover how these groups move in relation to one another, what their local range is, and is even beginning to provide clues to the korhaan’s elusive nest locations. This self-motivated project is truly citizen science at its best. Hopefully further data will continue to uncover new information. Stay tuned for updates!