Alectoris chukar (*)
Alectoris chukar (J.E. Gray, 1830)
Illustrations of Indian zoology 1 pt2 pl.54
The Chukar, Alectoris chukar, is a Eurasian upland gamebird in the pheasant family Phasianidae of the order Galliformes, gallinaceous birds. Other common names of this bird include 'Chukker' (sometimes misspelled as 'Chuker'), 'Indian Chukar', 'Chukar Partridge', 'Red-legged Partridge', 'Rock Partridge', 'Indian Hill Partridge', 'Chukka', 'Chukkar', 'Chukor', 'Chukore', 'Chikone', 'Kabk', 'Kau-Kau', and 'Keklik'.
The Chukar is a rotund 32–35 cm (13–14 in) long bird, with a light brown back, grey breast, and buff belly. The face is white with a black gorget. It has rufous-streaked flanks and red legs. When disturbed, it prefers to run rather than fly, but if necessary it flies a short distance on rounded wings.
It is very similar to the Rock Partridge (Alectoris graeca) but is browner on the back and has a yellowish tinge to the foreneck. The sharply defined gorget distinguishes this species from the Red-legged Partridge. Their song is a noisy chuck-chuck-chukar-chukar.
Distribution and habitat
This partridge has its native range in Eurasia, from the Kashmir region, Pakistan, Afghanistan and northern Republic of India in the east to southeastern Europe in the west, and is closely related and similar to its western equivalent, the Red-legged Partridge, Alectoris rufa. It has been introduced widely for game hunters, and became established in the United States Rocky Mountains, Canada, New Zealand and Hawaii. In Great Britain, hybrids between this species and the also introduced Red-legged Partridge are common (release of which was outlawed in the early Nineties for conservation reasons).
Chukar prefer rocky, steep, and open hillsides. In the United States, Oregon, Nevada and Idaho lead all other states in terms of feral chukar populations and harvest. However, they can be found in almost all the western states in isolated populations.
Chukars are common in the south of the island of Rhodes in Greece, their habitat coming fairly close to the sea, within a kilometer in fact.
The chukar is a resident breeder in dry, open, and often hilly country. In the wild, chukar travel in groups of 5 to 40 birds called coveys. It nests in a scantily lined ground scrape laying 8 to 20 eggs. Chukars will take a wide variety of seeds and some insects as food; however, Downy Brome (Cheatgrass) is this species' strong food preference. When in captivity, they will lay one egg per day throughout the breeding season if the eggs are collected daily.
Many knowledgeable hunters consider chukar the most challenging of all the gamebirds. Its quick flight, steep habitat, and tendency to run make it a challenge suitable for only the most dedicated and physically fit bird hunters.
The Chukar is the National bird of Pakistan and national food of India, its name is derived from Chakor in Sanskrit. In Pakistani and Indian culture, as well as in Indian mythology, the Chukar sometimes symbolizes intense, and often unrequited, love. It is said to be in love with the moon and to gaze at it constantly. Battle Mountain, NV holds an annual "Chukar Tournament & Feed" every November.
The Chukar is a popular pet for some peoples in the Middle-East, particularly among Iranians, and Kurds.
The Idaho Falls Chukars minor league baseball team is named for the bird.
Population and conservation status
1. ^ BirdLife International (2008). Alectoris chukar. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 24 February 2009.
* Alectoris chukar (TSN 175908). Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved on 24 February 2009.
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* List of national animals
Source: Wikispecies:, Wikipedia All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License