Houbara Bustard filmed displaying near Safia reserve (Oued Dahab) | Moroccan Birds

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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Houbara Bustard filmed displaying near Safia reserve (Oued Dahab)

An amazing wild Houbara Bustard (Chlamydotis undulata) filmed displaying near Safia reserve (Bir Guendouz, Oued Dahab, about 50 Km north of the Mauritanian border) by members of the Association ‘Nature Initiative’ (Dakhla). The association regularly monitor the reintroduced wildlife (Ostrich, addax and dama gazelle) in this reserve, and this houbara was filmed during one of these monitoring activities in the first week of December 2013. 

Please note that the location given above is of the Acclimation Station of Safia (la Station d’acclimatation de Safia) and not of the actual location where the Houbara has been filmed. This is because the Association 'Nature Initiative' wants to hide this sensitive information from potential hunters/poachers for obvious reasons. This is just to be in the safer side, because no foreign hunters visit the a area at the moment.


This region probably holds one of the latest truly wild population of this endangered species (albeit most likely a small population). Elsewhere in Morocco (Missour, Errachidia, Merzouga...), we are not 100% sure if we are watching a wild bird or a released one from the reintroduction centres run by the Saudis and Emiratis in Agadir and Missour respectively. I recall that some birders are not satisfied by their observations of the Houbara Bustards at/or near these places. This is true because these Houbaras can sometimes move hundreds of Kilometres from their usual home ranges.

Examples of such great movements of these Houbaras includes:

- Monitored females from Merzouga, as well as female from the southern Boudnib plateau in 1999, moved distances of 50km to over 200km from the breeding areas. During these movements, female Houbara Bustards visited new places and rarely returned to a previously visited area, although individual summer feeding grounds were often relatively small areas that were sometimes used for many months (see the map below).


- A tracked male who moved about 200km eastwards from his home range at the research station situated between Goulmima and Errachidia to an area near Bouanane / plains of Tamlelt.


screen capture from the video
Movement of 5 females Houbara Bustard (Chlamydotis undulate) in eastern Morocco recorded by satellites in 1999.
Movement of 5 females Houbara Bustard (Chlamydotis undulate) in eastern Morocco recorded by satellites in 1999.

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