Comparative morphology of the alimentary tract and its glandular derivatives of captive bustards

T. A. Bailey, E. P. Mensah-Brown, J. H. Samour, J. Naldo, P. Lawrence, A. Garner

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57 Citations (Scopus)


This study describes the gross anatomy of the alimentary tract of Houbara Bustards (Chlamydotis undulata macqueenii), Kori Bustards (Ardeotis kori), Rufous-crested Bustards (Eupodotis ruficrista) and White-bellied Bustards (Eupodotis senegalensis) maintained in captivity by the National Avian Research Center in the United Arab Emirates. The morphology of the alimentary tract and the proportions of each region were similar in all 4 species. The length of the oesophagus, combined proventriculus and ventriculus, small intestine, and large intestine formed 24.2-28.4%, 7.3-9.7%, 40.5-55.1% and 9.1-14.7% of the total alimentary tract length respectively. Neither crop nor oesophageal enlargement was observed in the birds examined in this study, although male Kori Bustards possessed a saccus oralis in the oropharyngeal cavity. Oesophagi, proventriculi, ventriculi, caeca and large intestine were well developed in all species. The small intestine was shorter than that of other avian herbivores and granivores when compared on a bodyweight basis. The well differentiated stomachs and well developed caeca of the bustards examined in this study are characteristic of omnivores. Analysis of the mean lengths of the alimentary tract components and weight of the liver and pancreas showed sexual dimorphism in cases where male and female data were available for direct comparison.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-398
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Anatomy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1997


  • Ardeotis
  • Avian anatomy
  • Chlamydotis
  • Eupodotis
  • Gastrointestinal tract
  • Otididae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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