Habitat, abundance and productivity of the Asian Houbara Chlamydotis macqueenii in Uzbekistan

Koshkin, Maxim (2016) Habitat, abundance and productivity of the Asian Houbara Chlamydotis macqueenii in Uzbekistan. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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For a species threatened with exploitation, before embarking on ex situ measures such as population reinforcement through captive breeding, it is important to explore potential in situ measures that could be used to mitigate species off-take by supporting breeding productivity of wild populations. Asian houbara Chlamydotis macqueenii is a globally threatened bird, with continuing declines across Central Asia, mainly due to unregulated hunting and trapping during migration and in winter. This research aims to improve understanding of the breeding season biology of the Asian houbara migratory populations in Central Asia to inform in-situ conservation of the species. Spring fieldwork during 2012–2015 involved distance sampling, nest monitoring and habitat sampling across 14,500 km2 of the Kyzylkum Desert in Uzbekistan. Contrary to expectations, there appeared to be no negative landscape-scale association between livestock density and the abundance of male houbara, and no grazing effect on desert shrub vegetation. Habitat characteristics selected by males at the landscape scale were more likely to maximise visibility of their displays, with higher male abundance in lower shrub vegetation, on gravelly substrate and flatter terrain. The first robust estimate of local male density stratified by different habitats and an estimate of regional numbers were obtained. Houbara nesting success was unaffected by variation in shrub species composition or livestock density, but nests placed within taller vegetation experienced greater success. Satellite-tracking revealed high site-fidelity of males to their display sites and intra-seasonal fidelity of females to breeding areas. During post-breeding dispersal adult birds were found to be using completely different, more productive in terms of vegetation, areas outside their breeding season range. In conclusion I discuss potential implications of key findings for the conservation and management of the Asian houbara population in the Kyzylkum, and their potential relevance to other houbara populations and study systems, and suggest priorities for further research.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Users 2259 not found.
Date Deposited: 04 May 2016 09:15
Last Modified: 04 May 2016 09:15
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/58558


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