Wednesday, 4 March 2015

196. Macqueen's Bustard (Chlamydotis macqueenii)

Macqueen's Bustard looks very similar to the Houbara Bustard, but has some black in its crest (not visible in the photo below!) where the Houbara Bustard's is all white; Macqueen's Bustard also appears less densely barred on its back. It also likes similar habitats - arid desert, semi-desert and dry steppe with sparse vegetation - but has a more easterly distribution, being resident in parts of the Middle East, and migratory further east in its range. Again, like the Houbara Bustard, it is also classed as Vulnerable, due to similar pressures - hunting and habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation. Slightly more bizarrely, they apparently also risk being 'misidentified' as suicide bombers - I recently read in the BTO magazine that 'a Macqueen's Bustard was 'shot down' in Afghanistan as it was believed to be a suicide bomber! The ringed bird was carrying a satellite tag as part of a project, but was mistakenly claimed to be equipped by the Taliban with an explosive pouch, GPS tracker and detonator and wearing a specially designed 'suicide vest''. Poor old Bustard!

Macqueen's Bustard, ©Kannan AS, via Wikimedia Commons.
Macqueen's Bustard painting.
Hmm, a bit too chunky and that shade of brown is way too red!


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