The endangered Houbara bustard bird 370.
(photo credit: Assaf Moroz)
The presence of an extremely rare bird – the Houbara bustard – in Israel has
increased by 10 percent in comparison to last year.
The Israel Nature and
Parks Authority counted 192 individuals on Friday in the Hatzerim area, west of
One of the largest, rarest and most impressive birds in
Israel, the Houbara bustard tends to prefer a desert environment and many of its
behaviors are still not completely known, the INPA said.
In 2001, there
were only about 500 Houbaras in the country, nesting predominantly in the Negev
and the Arava. Over the past decade their population decreased by 20 percent and
therefore became critically endangered, the authority said.
serves us as a kind of indicator for loss of soil and desert shrubbery and is of
course a flag-bearer for preserving these habitats,” the INPA
During the Houbara mating period, the male performs a unique
“bridal dance,” during which he runs hundreds of meters while drumming his legs
– raising his head backwards and inflating the plumes on his chest, making him
appear like a ball of black and white feathers, the INPA said. Like cranes,
which are distant relatives of the Houbara, this bird flaunts its beauty during
mating season, and males define their territory of up to several kilometers
When not in courtship period, the Houbaras are well camouflaged and
are typically light brown in color. Only when they rise into the air and unveil
their black and white wings are the birds easily visible during this time, the