|Female Houbara Bustard, Fuerteventura|
One of the key target species of any birding trip to the eastern Canary islands is the local race of Houbara Bustard Chlamydotis undulata fuerteventurae. With a total estimated population of around 500 individuals, possibly less, it is also one of the most endangered bird taxa on the islands, and indeed the world. In truth, the division between the island birds and those on the mainland, nominate undulata, is slight – mainland birds are slightly larger and paler. More significant is the split between the birds in North Africa and those in western Asia – these have now been split as McQueens Bustard on the basis of different courtship displays. As February is the start of the breeding season, seeing the amazing courtship display of the male was a key goal, and we were fortunate enough to see several displaying males on our trip.