Family Bustards (Otididae)


African Houbara (Chlamydotis undulata)


French: Outarde houbara German: Saharakragentrappe Spanish: Avutarda hubara africana
Other common names: Houbara Bustard

Psophia undulata


, 1784,

captive bird from Tripoli, Libya


Until recently considered conspecific with C. macqueenii but differs in its all-white vs black-tipped white crown with all-black vs white-based black ornamental neck plumes (3); finely peppered black-and-white vs pale blue-greyforeneck base and breast in mature male (2); position of crown feathers in display, sweeping up and back vs falling forward over bill#R (2); vocal differences in display (sequence ends in one single note rather than a series of notes)#R (2). Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. u. fuertaventurae (Rothschild & E. J. O. Hartert, 1894) – E Canary Is.
  • C. u. undulata (Jacquin, 1784) – N Africa E to Nile Valley.
  • Descriptive notes

    Male 65–75 cm, 1800–3200 g; female 55–65 cm, 1200–1700 g. Upperparts pale sandy buff, mottled and lined with darker brown, clear and paler on folded... read more


    Virtually silent. Displaying males may utter 3–5 low, deep, booming notes at 2 second intervals.


    Arid sandy semi-desert with tussock grass, flat bare stony plains dotted with xerophytic and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Variable and opportunistic, with no clearly discernible seasonal or geographical pattern. Vegetable matter such as fruits, seeds, shoots,... read more


    The mating system appears to fulfil the definition of an ‘exploded-lek’, in which males form loose aggregations where they... read more


    Sedentary and locally nomadic in Africa and Middle East.

    Status and conservation

    VULNERABLE. CITES I. Status everywhere very difficult to gauge owing to birds' highly cryptic coloration, elusive behaviour, and remote and inhospitable habitat. The... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2020). African Houbara (Chlamydotis undulata). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 23 January 2020).