Did you Know?
  • The Arabian Oryx (Oryx leucoryx) calves are born a sandy brown colour and only change to their adult white at about six months of age

Macqueen’s Bustard Re-introduction

Aims

In a project done in conjunction with the National Avian Research Centre (NARC) and the office of HH Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Macqueen’s Bustard are to be re-introduced into Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve.

Goals

  • To supplement the wild population, which migrate through the UAE, of this species that is classified, on the IUCN Red Data List, as vulnerable through rapid population decline.

Methodology

  • Macqueen’s Bustards are captive bred in the National Avian Research Centre and reared to adulthood, before being transported to the DDCR.
  • The bustards are release into the DDCR by one of two methods.
    • Soft Release: The bustards are allowed to acclimatize to the area for one month in specially built cages before being released.
    • Hard Release: The Bustards are released directly into the desert.
  • Satellite tracked bustards are monitored via regular downloads and records kept of their movements.

Progress to Date

  • The first release of 29 Macqueen’s bustards were released into the DDCR on the 25 February 2010. 15 bustards, including 3 with satellite tracking, were hard released directly into the desert in the South of the DDCR. While a further 14, including 3 with satellite tracking, were soft released near Tawi Ruwayyan after spending 1 month in cages erected on the release site.
  • Since the first release an annual release of Macqueen’s Bustard has taken place except for in 2011.
  • A total of 3101 individuals have been released with an approximate 1:1, male:female ratio up until the January 2020 release.
  • 106 Macqueen’s Bustards have been tagged with GPS trackers and their movements studied by the National Avian Research Centre.
  • Since 2010 breeding has been recorded in the DDCR through four nests with eggs being found and one female with chicks observed.
  • Regular sightings of Macqueen’s bustards without satellite tracking are report by the DDCR staff, including a male doing a mating display.