Sunday, 1 March 2015

195. Houbara Bustard (Chlamydotis undulata)

Houbara Bustards are quite large, being around the size of a medium sized duck, but obviously with much longer legs and neck. Like the Great Bustard, they are classified as Vulnerable, due again to hunting pressure, habitat loss and disturbance. They are resident across north Africa in arid areas such as semi-desert, steppe and desert, with sparse scrub and bushes to provide cover. There is also another race found in the Canary Islands, and that is the one illustrated in the photo below - despite the rarity of this race it was actually somewhat easier to find nice photos of it! The nominate north African race is slightly larger, having upperparts of a warmer lighter brown colour with less extensive vermiculation than the Canary Islands fuertaventurae race. Like Great Bustards, they perform a similarly extravagant feathery courtship display, and the male in the image below looks like he's just starting or finishing one. Females are smaller and slightly greyer, with a less strongly-defined black neck-band.

Houbara Bustard, ©Andrej Chudý, via Flickr Creative Commons.
Houbara Bustard painting.
Hmm I might try and find some better scanner software than crummy Windows Fax & Scan which is not picking up all the detail in my paintings. To be fair in this one, it's a combination of subtleties which the scanner has missed out, and subtleties which are just absent because I didn't paint them!

Edit: have now installed better scanner software and rescanned my most recent paintings.


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