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Endangered Species Research

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ESR 35:59-70 (2018)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00874

Breeding success and juvenile survival in a reintroduced captive-bred population of Asian houbara bustards in the United Arab Emirates

Joseph F. Azar1,*, Toni Chalah2, Pierrick Rautureau2, Mark Lawrence2, Yves Hingrat1

1Reneco International Wildlife Consultants, LLC, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
2National Avian Research Centre, Sweihan, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Identifying factors influencing breeding success in endangered species is vital for undertaking appropriate conservation measures. The reintroduced population of the captive-bred Asian houbara bustard Chlamydotis macqueenii in reserves of the western United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been closely monitored since releases first began in 2005. Based on 8 yr of monitoring data, we provide novel information on female breeding probability and breeding success within a desert ecosystem. Additionally, we explore factors influencing some breeding parameters. Female breeding probability was on average 0.14 ± 0.31 SD (0.01 ± 0.03 for females less than 1 yr old and 0.23 ± 0.38 for females older than 1 yr). Nest initiation date was influenced by temperature and time. Rainfall during a breeding season increased its length. The estimated nest survival rate for 23 d was 0.52, and was negatively influenced by nest initiation date. Chick survival rate to the age of 6 wk was 0.50 ± 0.39 SD, and survival rate of juveniles in their first year was 0.64 ± 0.02 SE. Our results highlight the ability of captive-bred released houbara in the UAE to breed and of wild born juveniles to survive, 2 vital prerequisites for a successful reintroduction programme. Furthermore, these breeding parameters are similar to the very few that have been reported in other studies of wild resident houbara populations. However, population recruitment rate was low (0.04 individuals per female), resulting mainly from low female breeding probability under harsh weather conditions.


KEY WORDS: Chlamydotis macqueenii · Breeding parameters · Captive breeding · Recruitment · Survival · Translocation · RMark


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Cite this article as: Azar JF, Chalah T, Rautureau P, Lawrence M, Hingrat Y (2018) Breeding success and juvenile survival in a reintroduced captive-bred population of Asian houbara bustards in the United Arab Emirates. Endang Species Res 35:59-70. https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00874

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