Threats: Hunted by Middle Eastern falconers as a traditional practice, the houbara bustard’s biggest threat comes from being used as prey for falcons. Over-hunting has been compounded by habitat loss and degradation, as a result of tourist activities and development, overgrazing, sand extraction and road development, according to birdlife.org.

Why we should care: Apart from being an important link in the food chain, the houbara bustard is significant to Arabian heritage and culture. According to the Abu Dhabi-based International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC) website, for centuries, falconers hunted the houbara bustard as a vital source of meat, and hunting with falcons was a necessary survival skill for the indigenous people. As the main quarry for falcons, if houbara bustards die out, so will the cherished art of falconry.