There is a large illegal trade in trapped houbara bustards Chlamydotis undulata macqueenii, which are smuggled into the Middle East for falconry. Mortality is high and is associated with poor transport conditions, malnutrition, overcrowding and exposure to multiple infectious diseases, in particular aspergillosis, avian pox and paramyxovirus type 1 virus. Other pathogens include Salmonella sp., Pseudomoims sp., Trichomonas sp., intestinal endoparasites, avian leucosis, reovirus, adeno-virus, paramyxovirus type 2 and Chlamydia sp. Various regional initiatives have been initiated to confiscate and rehabilitate illegally trapped birds. This paper reviews the causes of morbidity and mortality seen in illegally traded houbara bustards and provides health recommendations for those involved in rehabilitation.