A largely solitary bird, the houbara bustard feeds alone or in small groups on beetles, ants and plants. In the breeding season, males and females meet only to choose a mate and to breed. Courtship takes place between December and March and involves a sophisticated display (4). The male ruffles the feathers of his crest, neck and head and raises the wings. He walks steadily and calmly in a large circle or straight line, with the tail raised and fanned out, occasionally lowering the wings. Abruptly, the male then begins to leap back and forth as he attempts to attract the attention of the female. Once the female has made her choice and mated with a male, neither bird will mate again that season (2). The female leaves the male after mating and both sexes remain solitary for the remainder of the breeding season. Between February and April the female lays two or three eggs in a small scrape (4). After hatching, the chicks follow the female for protection as she feeds, as they are vulnerable to predators, including eagles, falcons, foxes, wolves, monitor lizards, snakes and kestrels (5).
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