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Individual study: The effects of different release techniques on post-release survival of houbara bustards Chalmydotis undulata macqueenii in Saudi Arabia

Published source details

Combreau O. & Smith T.R. (1998) Release techniques and predation in the introduction of houbara bustards in Saudi Arabia. Biological Conservation, 84, 147-155


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Reduce predation by translocating predators Bird Conservation

A before-and-after study of a houbara bustard Chalmydotis undulata macqueenii release programme in desert steppe in southwest Saudi Arabia (Combreau & Smith 1998) found that the rate of predation of bustards did not change from 1993, with no predator control, to 1994, when feral cats Felis catus and red foxes Vulpes vulpes were caught and translocated away from the release site (47% of 25 subadult bustards predated in 1993 vs. 45% of 34 in 1994). However, the pattern of predation did differ, with fewer birds predated near the release site (predation occurring an average of 3 km from the release site in 1993 vs. 8 km in 1994) and birds surviving for longer on average (average of four days before predation in 1993 vs. 14 days in 1994). The release programme itself is discussed in ‘Release captive bred individuals’, ‘Release birds as subadults or adults, not juveniles’, ‘Use holding pens at release sites’ and ‘Use holding pens at release sites and clip birds’ wings’.

 

Use holding pens at release sites Bird Conservation

A replicated, controlled study in 1991-4 in desert steppe in Saudi Arabia (Combreau & Smith 1998) found that the survival of released houbara bustards Chlamydotis undulata macqueenii (released as part of the same programme as in Jaime et al.1996) was significantly higher when birds were released into a release pen, compared to direct release into the reserve (48% survival for 59 sub-adults released in 1992-4 vs. 0% survival for birds released into the reserve or the pen without a ‘transition period’ in 1991). The effect of clipping sub-adults’ wings before release is discussed in ‘Use holding pens and clip birds’ feathers’, with further details of the programme in ‘Release captive bred individuals’, ‘Release birds as sub-adults or adults, not juveniles’ and ‘Control predators not on islands’.

 

Release captive-bred individuals into the wild to restore or augment wild populations of bustards Bird Conservation

A replicated trial (Combreau & Smith 1998) as part of the same release programme as in Seddon et al. 1995 and Gelinaud et al. 1997 found that 35 of 85 houbara bustards Chlamydotis undulata macqueenii (41%) released at a desert steppe site in southwest Saudi Arabia were successfully introduced. This study investigates how different release techniques affected survival, discussed in ‘Release birds as sub-adults or adults, not juveniles’ and ‘Use holding pens at release sites’. The effect of predator removal is discussed in ‘Control predators not on islands’.

 

Release birds as adults or sub-adults, not juveniles Bird Conservation

A replicated study at a desert steppe site in 1992-4 in southwest Saudi Arabia (Combreau & Smith 1998) found that houbara bustards Chlamydotis undulata macqueenii released as sub-adults had higher survival than those released as chicks, except when released with their wings clipped (48% survival for 59 unclipped sub-adults released in 1992-4 vs. 36% of 14 chicks released in 1993 and 17% of 12 sub-adults with clipped wings released in 1992). Details of the chick releases are discussed in ‘Release birds in ‘coveys’’. This study is also discussed in ‘Release captive-bred individuals’ and ‘Use holding pens at release sites’. The effect of predator removal is discussed in ‘Control predators not on islands’.