Wintering habitat use by houbara bustard (Chlamydotis macqueenii) in steppes of Harat, central Iran

S Aghainajafi-Zadeh, MR Hemami, M Karami, PM Dolman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Over the last few decades, Asiatic houbara bustard (Chlamydotis macqueenii) has declined in numbers throughout its geographic range. In Iran, houbaras occur in arid and semi-arid deserts, with the highest population densities in the central steppes. Wintering habitat selection of houbara bustards was studied from December 2006 to March 2007 in Harat, central Iran. To compare houbara population densities in different habitats within the study area, the number of houbara fecal pellets were quantified within strip transects in two habitat types. Houbara population density was higher in bush-steppe habitat, which had lower plant height and greater vegetation cover, than shrub-steppe. In contrast, houbaras selected sites within each habitat where vegetation cover was significantly lower compared with control sites. Distance to farmlands and plant species richness were also important determinants of the habitat use of bustards in the study area. We suggest that agricultural development strategies may influence the abundance of local populations of houbara in their wintering grounds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)912-917
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Arid Environments
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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