All – It was interesting to see the image of the Houbara Bustard taken in Morocco, ‘around Merzouga' in April 2008 by Attila Simay, who commented on the fact that three had been seen. I suspect these must have been from the reintroduction program where 5000 are reported to have been captive bred by General/ HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and released recently.
This follows other programs whereby Macqueen’s Bustards had been released in the UAE.
I do not want to comment on the reasons for the need to breed and release such numbers (numbers depleted by falconry and then released for falconry), but rather have a concern about the genetic purity of the birds being released in Morocco. The recent photo seems to look like Houbara, with strongly white crown feathers and the pattern of the upperparts looks well-barred, but I just hope that the birds released have not had any genetic dilution from the Middle East, nor indeed from the different subspecies of Houbara on the Canary Islands.
Does anybody know more about this and can confirm that all 5000 birds raised in eastern Morocco are Moroccan Houbara?