Comparative gastrointestinal morphology of the Kori bustard and secretary bird
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Two secretary birds and three Kori bustards were studied to determine differences between their body size and gastrointestinal morphology. Body measurements were made on captive, live birds and gastrointestinal measurements on fresh postmortem specimens. For predator species, such as the Kori bustard and secretary bird, body size is a function of their ability to capture and destroy prey. While the secretary bird was clearly the taller of the two species, superior body weight, wing length, and therefore body size was noted for the Kori bustard. The size and length of the gastrointestinal tract varied between species. The secretary bird had the shorter, less complex digestive tract, with a foregut well adapted for consumption of large quantities of flesh. The large intestine was devoid of ceca. The gastrointestinal tract of the Kori bustard was markedly different from that of the secretary bird. The foregut was less complex and the large intestine possessed large, voluminous ceca.