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A photo of a Chukar Partridge (Alectoris chukar)
Chukar Partridge

Chukar Partridge

Alectoris chukar

The Chukar Partridge, or simply Chukar, is a robust gamebird of the pheasant family, Phasianidae. It is a rotund bird, measuring 32–35 cm in length, with a light brown back, grey breast, and buff belly. The face is white, adorned with a black gorget, and the flanks are streaked with rufous. Both sexes are similar in appearance, though the female is slightly smaller and lacks the male's spur. The tail feathers number fourteen, with the third primary being the longest.

Identification Tips

To identify the Chukar, look for the distinctive black band that starts at the forehead, runs across the eye, and down the head, forming a necklace-like pattern that encloses a white throat. The legs are red, and the bill is coral red. When comparing with similar species, note the Chukar's browner back and the absence of dark streaks near the breast, which distinguishes it from the red-legged partridge.

Habitat

The Chukar is native to rocky open hillsides with grass or scattered scrub or cultivation. It is found at various altitudes, from lowlands starting at 400 m below sea level in the Dead Sea area to high altitudes of 2,000 to 4,000 m in eastern areas.

Distribution

This bird's native range spans across Asia, from eastern Afghanistan to eastern Nepal, and into southeastern Europe. It has been introduced to North America, New Zealand, and other regions where feral populations have established.

Behaviour

Chukars are found in small coveys outside the breeding season and form pairs during summer for breeding. They are known for their pugnacious behavior, with males engaging in calling and fighting. They prefer running to flying when disturbed and have a loud, distinctive call.

Song & Calls

The Chukar's call is a noisy "chuck-chuck-chukar-chukar," from which its name is derived. It has several calls that vary with context, including a "rallying call" used for communication and surveys.

Breeding

During the breeding season, males exhibit tidbitting displays and may chase females in a courtship ritual. The nest is a ground scrape, and the female lays about 7 to 14 eggs, which hatch in 23–25 days.

Similar Species

The Chukar is similar to the rock partridge but can be differentiated by its browner back and the yellowish tinge to the foreneck. The Barbary partridge has a reddish-brown collar and a chestnut crown, unlike the Chukar's black collar.

Diet and Feeding

Chukars consume a variety of seeds and some insects, and they ingest grit to aid digestion. Their diet can vary depending on their location.

Conservation Status

The Chukar Partridge is classified as Least Concern by the IUCN. Its populations are largely affected by weather patterns during the breeding season, and while it is relatively unaffected by hunting or habitat loss, the release of captive stock can threaten native populations due to potential hybridization.

Chukar Partridge Sounds


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Chukar Partridge Fun Facts

Did you know?
Chukar Partridge get their name from their unusual call that is said to resemble that of a domestic hen.
Did you know?
The Chukar Partridge is the national bird of Pakistan

Chukar Partridges on Birda

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