Eggs

The female houbara digs a shallow hole in the open ground, into which she lays on average one to three eggs. These eggs are spotted in appearance, with brown shades to match the colour of the nests in desert areas, which protects them from predators during the incubation period that extends for three weeks.

Rearing

For the first few days after hatching, the chicks are fed directly by their mother. Later, the mother will begin to train her chicks on how to pick up food by throwing worms and insects on the ground in front of them. When chicks are five days old, they are able to feed themselves close to the nest.

Within a month, the growth of feathers allows the houbara chicks to fly short distances, however they remain close to their mother for the first couple of months before they become juveniles and capable of surviving on their own.

Mating

Each season, males return to the territory where they have previously been successful in mating. Once on these show sites, the male houbara undertakes a complex and spectacular routine in an attempt to attract females. It fluffs its neck feathers while pulling its head to the back in fast movements. The male’s head becomes thus almost hidden in a mass of white and black feathers. Following this, it rushes quickly to dance in a straight line or circular motion.

The females visit these display sites for mating, then leave to another area to lay their eggs. Houbara males neither play a role in egg incubation, which lasts 23 days, nor contribute to raising, defending or caring for the young. A male’s only function appears to be to mate with the female.