The male is a striking, medium-sized, mostly dark bustard with a bold white cheek patch and a reddish bill. The female has a black belly and is elsewhere finely barred. In flight it has a conspicuous white window on both the upper and lower sides of the wing. Scattered individuals, sometimes associated in small groups, inhabit arid savanna and Karoo scrub. It singscalls a strident, ratcheting “kraak-kraak-kraak” which leads into a maniacal “raa-cha-ka-ka-ka....cha-ka-ka-ka” display as the male flies around 20–30 m above the ground, with legs dangling. In flight, Black Bustard’s lack of large white wing patches separates it from the similar White-quilled Bustard.