A largely solitary bird, the houbara bustard feeds alone or in small groups on beetles, ants, plants (8), and even small lizards (2). Showing remarkable adaptation to its arid habitat, the houbara bustard does not need to drink, and instead receives all the water it requires from its food (2). It will walk kilometres while searching for food, but rarely takes to the skies in flight (2).
In the breeding season, males and females meet only to choose a mate and to breed. Courtship takes place between December and March and involves a sophisticated and flamboyant display (8). While puffing out the ornate feathers on his crest, chest and neck, the male makes long, slow and graceful steps. The male then throws its head back between its shoulders and promptly starts moving frantically in a straight line or in a circle. Abruptly stopping, the male will then stand with all its display feathers erected and throw its head repeatedly upwards while emitting a deep booming call (2). Facing its chosen mate, the male then enters another display before mating, stretching is neck forward whilst its white feathers are erected, walking toward the female by twisting its body from left to right and clapping its beak in time (2).
After mating, the female leaves the male and both sexes remain solitary for the remainder of the breeding season. Between February and April the female lays two or three eggs in a small scrape (8). After hatching, the chicks follow the female for protection as she feeds, as they are vulnerable to predators, including eagles, falcons, foxes, wolves, monitor lizards, snakes and kestrels (9).