Anthropogenic influences on habitat use by African Houbaras Chlamydotis undulata on Lanzarote, Canary Islands
AffiliationUniversity of Chester; BirdLife International
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AbstractAfrican Houbara Chlamydotis undulata is threatened in North Africa by unsustainable hunting and massive overuse of captive-bred birds to replace wild losses. A small population on the Canary Islands is protected from these threats, but the archipelago is economically dependent on tourism which has led to extensive land-use change, particularly close to the coasts. We investigated the drivers of houbara distribution and abundance in and around the large semi-desert El Jable region of northern Lanzarote in order to identify potential measures to conserve this important population. All houbaras seen during point counts in the centre of 30 tetrads (2 km ×2 km) were recorded, along with their location. We used negative binomial regression to evaluate the effects of land use and human activity on the abundance of birds at tetrad scale. At finer scale we used logistic regression to assess the effect of land use on the distribution of displaying males. We recorded 196 houbara sightings on our surveys, although only 10 males were observed displaying. Houbara abundance had a quadratic relationship with the proportion of huerta (agricultural gardens) in a tetrad. The distribution of male displays was positively related to the proportion of long-abandoned farmland within a 100 m radius of their display site. African Houbaras favour the vicinity of small-scale agriculture and abandoned farmland, but avoid areas with higher levels of human land-use. Reduction of extensive land-use change and disturbance in El Jable are key conservation measures.
CitationGeary, M., Cooper, J. R., & Collar, N. J. (2022). Anthropogenic influences on habitat use by African Houbaras Chlamydotis undulata on Lanzarote, Canary Islands. Journal for Nature Conservation, 68, 126231. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnc.2022.126231
JournalJournal for Nature Conservation
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