Houbara Bustard (Chlamydotis undulata)
Species
Houbara Bustard (Chlamydotis undulata fuertaventurae). Taken at Tindaya Plain, Fuerteventura, on March 15th 2018.
Taken at Tindaya Plain, Fuerteventura, on March 15th 2018.
(1/400th sec at f8. Click image for larger version. © David Hastings)

Description

L: 55 - 65 cm; WS: 135 - 170 cm

The Houbara Bustard is brown above and white below, with a black stripe down the sides of its neck. In flight, the long wings show large areas of black and brown on the flight feathers. The sexes are similar, but the female is rather smaller and greyer above than the male.

It is found in North Africa west of the Nile, mainly in the western part of the Sahara desert region in Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. A small population is found on Lanzarote and Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands, where the subspecies fuertaventurae is highly restricted and endangered.

Adapted to arid conditions with little vegetation, the Houbara Bustard is found in sandy and stony semi-desert regions.

The male's courtship display is sophisticated and flamboyant. While puffing out the ornate feathers on his crest, chest and neck, the male makes long, slow and graceful steps. The male then throws its head back between its shoulders and promptly starts moving frantically in a straight line or in a circle. Abruptly stopping, the male will then stand with all its display feathers erected and throw its head repeatedly upwards while emitting a deep booming call.

The Houbara Bustard is regarded as Vulnerable by the IUCN.

Sightings

15-Mar-2018 : Fuerteventura, Canary Islands (8)
12-Mar-2018 : Fuerteventura, Canary Islands (1)
11-Mar-2018 : Fuerteventura, Canary Islands (1)
10-Mar-2018 : Fuerteventura, Canary Islands (2)
09-Mar-2018 : Fuerteventura, Canary Islands (1)