Action Synopsis: Bird Conservation About Actions

Artificially incubate and hand-rear bustards in captivity

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
  • Certainty
  • Harms

Study locations

Key messages

  • A review of a houbara bustard Chlamydotis undulata macqueenii captive breeding programme in Saudi Arabia found that there was no difference in survival between artificially and parentally incubated eggs.
  • A second review of the same programme found that removing eggs from clutches as they were laid increased the number laid by females.


About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A review of a houbara bustard Chlamydotis undulata macqueenii captive breeding programme in Saudi Arabia (1) between 1989 and 1993 found that removing eggs from females to artificially incubate them increased the number of eggs produced from one to four eggs/year for wild birds to nearly nine eggs/female. This study is also discussed in ‘Use captive breeding to increase or maintain populations’, ‘Use artificial insemination in captive breeding’ and ‘Release captive-bred individuals’.

    Study and other actions tested
  2. A review (van Heezik & Ostrowski 2001) of the same programme as Seddon et al. 1995 found that, between 1992 and 1999, there was no significant difference in survival between artificially incubated eggs and those hatched by parental incubation, once breeding experience of mothers, year of lay and the cohort of birds that the mother came from were taken into account. A total of 1,012 eggs were studied. This study is also discussed in ‘Use captive breeding to increase or maintain populations’.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Williams, D.R., Child, M.F., Dicks, L.V., Ockendon, N., Pople, R.G., Showler, D.A., Walsh, J.C., zu Ermgassen, E.K.H.J. & Sutherland, W.J. (2020) Bird Conservation. Pages 137-281 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2020. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.


Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

All the journals searched for all synopses

Bird Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Bird Conservation
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What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

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