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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Review of breeding and release programme a captive-for houbara bustards Chalmydotis undulata macqueenii in Saudi Arabia

Published source details

Jaime M.S., Combreau O., Seddon P.J., Paillat P. & van Heezik Y. (1996) Restoration of Chlamydotis undulata macqueenii (Houbara Bustard) Populations in Saudi Arabia: A Progress Report. Restoration Ecology, 4, 81-87


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

Clip birds’ wings on release Bird Conservation

A review of a houbara bustard Chlamydotis undulata macqueenii release programme in southwest Saudi Arabia between 1991 and 1993 (Jaime et al. 1996) found that three to five month sub-adult birds released in a large (4 km2) fenced enclosure (designed to reduce predation by mammalian predators) with clipped wings had significantly lower survival (2 of 13 birds surviving to join wild birds), compared to two month-old birds released with unclipped wings (one of 25 birds released survived for at least seven months, ten other established territories in the release site). Six of the wing-clipped birds were killed by avian predators within the enclosure, one died of pox and three were killed by mammalian predators after they left the enclosure. Twelve of the unclipped birds were also predated. Other release techniques and descriptions of the captive-breeding programme are discussed in ‘Use captive breeding to increase or maintain populations’, ‘Use artificial insemination in captive breeding’, ‘Release captive-bred individuals’, ‘Release birds in ‘coveys’ and ‘Use holding pens at site of release’.

 

Release birds in ‘coveys’ Bird Conservation

A replicated study reviewing a houbara bustard Chlamydotis undulata macqueenii release programme in central Saudi Arabia between 1991 and 1993 (Jaime et al. 1996) found that releasing coveys of chicks into a large (4 km2) enclosure designed to exclude mammalian predators had low levels of success. Eight coveys with a total of 15 chicks were released along with eight females (rendered flightless). Of these only five birds integrated into wild flocks with five leaving the enclosure and being predated by mammalian predators; two were killed inside the enclosure and three died of disease. Other release techniques and descriptions of the captive-breeding programme are discussed in ‘Use captive breeding to increase or maintain populations’, ‘Use artificial insemination in captive breeding’, ‘Release captive-bred individuals’, ‘Use holding pens at site of release’ and ‘Use holding pens at site of release and clip birds’ wings’.

 

Use captive breeding to increase or maintain populations of bustards Bird Conservation

A review (Jamie et al. 1996) of the same project as in Seddon et al. 1995 found that captive houbara bustards, Chlamydotis undulata macqueenii, first reproduced at an earlier age than wild birds, with 2% of females laying at one year old; 23% at two years; 62% at three years and 82% (i.e. all birds that became accustomed to captivity and so would be expected to lay) at four years old. This study is also discussed in ‘Use artificial insemination in captive breeding’, ‘Release captive-bred individuals’, ‘Release birds in ‘coveys’, ‘Use holding pens at site of release’ and ‘Use holding pens at site of release and clip birds’ wings’.

 

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

A review (Jaime et al. 1996) of the same release programme as in Seddon et al. 1995 found that houbara bustard Chlamydotis undulata macqueenii releases were most successful when sub-adult birds were released into a large (4 km2) fenced enclosure, compared with releases of birds without an enclosure, releases of chicks or releases of sub-adult birds with clipped wings. Four adults and sub-adults were released without an enclosure in 1991 and all were killed within three days by foxes. This study is also discussed in ‘Use captive breeding to increase or maintain populations’ and ‘Use artificial insemination in captive breeding’. The other release techniques are discussed in ‘Release birds in ‘coveys’, ‘Use holding pens at site of release’ and ‘Use holding pens at site of release and clip birds’ wings’.

 

Use holding pens at release sites Bird Conservation

A replicated study, reviewing a houbara bustard Chlamydotis undulata macqueenii release programme in southwest Saudi Arabia between 1991 and 1993 (Jaime et al. 1996) found that releases were most successful when subadult birds were released into a large (4 km2) fenced enclosure, compared with releases of birds without an enclosure. All four birds released without an enclosure were killed by foxes within three days, whilst one of 25 birds released into the enclosure survived for at least seven months and ten other established themselves in territories in the release site. Twelve of the dead birds were predated and two contracted pox. Other release techniques and descriptions of the captive-breeding programme are discussed in ‘Use captive breeding to increase or maintain populations’, ‘Use artificial insemination in captive breeding’, ‘Release captive-bred individuals’, ‘Release birds in ‘coveys’ and ‘Use holding pens at site of release and clip birds’ wings’.

 

Use artificial insemination in captive breeding Bird Conservation

Another review (Jaime et al. 1996) of the same houbara bustard Chlamydotis undulata macqueenii programme as Seddon et al. 1995 found that artificial insemination achieved the highest rates of fertility with inseminations of more than 10 million spermatozoa every 4-5 days. This study is also discussed in ‘Use captive breeding to increase or maintain populations’, ‘Release captive-bred individuals’, ‘Use holding pens at site of release’,  ‘Release birds in ‘coveys’ and ‘Use holding pens at site of release and clip birds’ wings’.