Chukar partridge

The chukar partridge, or simply chukar (Alectoris chukar), also called Chukor, is a Eurasian upland gamebird in the pheasant family Phasianidae. It has been considered to form a superspecies complex along with the rock partridge, Philby's partridge and Przevalski's partridge and treated in the past as conspecific particularly with the first. This partridge has well marked black and white bars on the flanks and a black band running from the forehead across the eye and running down the head to form a necklace that encloses a white throat. The species has been introduced into many other places and feral populations have established themselves in parts of North America and New Zealand. This bird can be found in parts of Middle East and South Asia.

Chukar partridge
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Family: Phasianidae
Genus: Alectoris
A. chukar
Binomial name
Alectoris chukar
(Gray, 1830)
Rough distribution of chukar (green) and related partridges

Caccabis kakelik


Alectoris chukar hm
Illustration from Hume and Marshall's Game Birds of India, Burma and Ceylon

The chukar is a rotund 32–35 cm (13–14 in) long partridge, with a light brown back, grey breast, and buff belly. The shades vary across the various populations. The face is white with a black gorget. It has rufous-streaked flanks, red legs and coral red bill. Sexes are similar, the female slightly smaller in size and lacking the spur.[2] The tail has 14 feathers, the third primary is the longest while the first is level with the fifth and sixth primaries.[3]

It is very similar to the rock partridge (Alectoris graeca) with which it has been lumped in the past[4] 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 which has the black collar breaking into dark streaks near the breast. Their song is a noisy chuck-chuck-chukar-chukar from which the name is derived.[5] The Barbary partridge (Alectoris barbara) has a reddish-brown rather than black collar with a grey throat and face with a chestnut crown.[6]

Other common names of this bird include chukker (chuker or chukor), Indian chukar and keklik.

Distribution and habitat

This partridge has its native range in Asia, including, Israel, Lebanon, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, along the inner ranges of the Western Himalayas to Nepal. Further west in southeastern Europe it is replaced by the red-legged partridge, Alectoris rufa. It barely ranges into Africa on the Sinai Peninsula. The habitat in the native range is rocky open hillsides with grass or scattered scrub or cultivation. In Israel and Jordan it is found at low altitudes, starting at 400 m (1,300 ft) below sea level in the Dead Sea area, whereas in the more eastern areas it is mainly found at an altitude of 2,000 to 4,000 m (6,600 to 13,100 ft) except in Pakistan, where it occurs at 600 m (2,000 ft).[2][7] They are not found in areas of high humidity or rainfall.[8]

It has been introduced widely as a game bird, and feral populations have become established in the United States (Rocky Mountains, Great Basin, high desert areas of California), Canada, Chile, Argentina, New Zealand and Hawaii.[9] Initial introductions into the US were from the nominate populations collected from Afghanistan and Nepal.[10] It has also been introduced to New South Wales in Australia but breeding populations have not persisted and are probably extinct.[11] A small population exists on Robben Island in South Africa since it was introduced there in 1964.[12]

The chukar readily interbreeds with the red-legged partridge (Alectoris rufa), and the practice of breeding and releasing captive-bred hybrids has been banned in various countries including the United Kingdom, as it is a threat to wild populations.[13]

Systematics and taxonomy

Alectoris chukar 7 - Israel
Alectoris chukar

The chukar partridge is part of a confusing group of "red-legged partridges". Several plumage variations within the widespread distribution of the chukar partridge have been described and designated as subspecies. In the past the chukar group was included with the rock partridge (also known as the Greek partridge). The species from Turkey and farther east was subsequently separated from A. graeca of Greece and Bulgaria and western Europe.[14][15]


There are fourteen recognized subspecies:

Population and status

AntelopeIsland Chukar
Chukar partridge in the Antelope Island State Park, Utah, US

This species is relatively unaffected by hunting or loss of habitat. Its numbers are largely affected by weather patterns during the breeding season. The release of captive stock in some parts of southern Europe can threaten native populations of rock partridge and red-legged partridge with which they may hybridize.[16][17]

British sportsmen in India considered the chukar as good sport although they were not considered to be particularly good in flavour. Their fast flight and ability to fly some distance after being shot made recovery of the birds difficult without retriever dogs.[18] During cold winters, when the higher areas are covered in snow, people in Kashmir have been known to use a technique to tire the birds out to catch them.[19]

Behaviour and ecology

In the non-breeding season, chukar partridge are found in small coveys of 10 or more (up to 50) birds. In summer, chukars form pairs to breed. During this time, the cocks are very pugnacious calling and fighting.[7][8][20][21] During winter they descend into the valleys and feed in fields. They call frequently during the day and especially in the mornings and evenings. The call is loud and includes loud repeated "Chuck" notes and sometimes duetting "Chuker" notes. Several calls varying with context have been noted.[22] The commonest call is a "rallying call" which when played back elicits a response from birds and has been used in surveys, although the method is not very reliable.[23][24] When disturbed, it prefers to run rather than fly, but if necessary it flies a short distance often down a slope on rounded wings, calling immediately after alighting.[2][18][25] In Utah, birds were found to forage in an area of about 2.6 km2 (1.0 sq mi). and travel up to 4.8 km (3.0 mi) to obtain water during the dry season. The home range was found to be even smaller in Idaho.[26][27][28]

The breeding season is summer. Males perform tidbitting displays, a form of courtship feeding where the male pecks at food and a female may visit to peck in response. The males may chase females with head lowered, wing lowered and neck fluffed. The male may also perform a high step stiff walk while making a special call. The female may then crouch in acceptance and the male mounts to copulate, while grasping the nape of the female. Males are monogamous.[15] The nest is a scantily lined ground scrape, though occasionally a compact pad is created with a depression in the center. Generally, the nests are sheltered by ferns and small bushes, or placed in a dip or rocky hillside under an overhanging rock. About 7 to 14 eggs are laid.[8][21][29] The eggs hatch in about 23–25 days. In captivity they can lay an egg each day during the breeding season if eggs are collected daily.[30] Chicks join their parents in foraging and will soon join the chicks of other members of the covey.[6]

As young chukars grow, and before flying for the first time, they utilize wing-assisted incline running as a transition to adult flight. This behaviour is found in several bird species, but has been extensively studied in chukar chicks, as a model to explain the evolution of avian flight.[31][32][33][34]

A chukar in a 17th-century Persian encyclopedia

Chukar will take a wide variety of seeds and some insects as food. It also ingests grit.[25] In Kashmir, the seeds of a species of Eragrostis was particularly dominant in their diet[35] while those in the US favoured Bromus tectorum.[6] Birds feeding on succulent vegetation make up for their water needs but visit open water in summer.[36]

Chukar roost on rocky slopes or under shrubs. In winter, birds in the US selected protected niches or caves. A group may roost in a tight circle with their heads pointed outwards to conserve heat and keep a look out for predators.[6]

Chukar are sometimes preyed on by golden eagles.[37]

Birds in captivity can die from mycoplasma infection and outbreaks of other diseases such as Erysipelas.[38][39][40]

In culture

The chukar is the national bird of Iraq and of Pakistan, The name is onometapoeic and mentions of chakor in Sanskrit, from the northern Indian subcontinent date back to the Markandeya Purana (c. 250-500 AD).[41][42] In North Indian and Pakistani culture, as well as in Indian mythology, the chukar sometimes symbolizes intense, and often unrequited, love.[43][44] It is said to be in love with the moon and to gaze at it constantly.[45] Because of their pugnacious behaviour during the breeding season they are kept in some areas as fighting birds.[8][20]


Alectoris chukar MHNT.ZOO.2010.11.6.11


Chukar chick-HVC parking lot HNP (9285063049)


Datia State CoA

Chukar in Indian heraldry

Alectoris chukar (AM LB4107-2)



  1. ^ BirdLife International. (2016). Alectoris chukar. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22678691A89355978.en
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  24. ^ Bohl, Wayne H. (1956). "Experiments in Locating Wild Chukar Partridges by Use of Recorded Calls". The Journal of Wildlife Management. 20 (1): 83–85. doi:10.2307/3797253. JSTOR 3797253.
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  38. ^ Lateef M, Rauf U, Sajid MA (2006). "Outbreak of respiratory syndrome in Chukar Partridge (Alectoris chukar)" (PDF). The Journal of Animal and Plant Sciences. 16 (1–2).
  39. ^ Pettit JR, Gough AW, Truscott RB (1976). "Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae infection in Chukar Partridge (Alectoris graeca)" (PDF). Journal of Wildlife Diseases. 12 (2): 254–255. doi:10.7589/0090-3558-12.2.254. PMID 933318.
  40. ^ Dubey JP, Goodwin AM, Ruff MD, Shen SK, Kwok OC, Wizlkins GL, Thulliez P (1995). "Experimental toxoplasmosis in chukar partridges (Alectoris graeca)". Avian Pathology. 24 (1): 95–107. doi:10.1080/03079459508419051. PMID 18645768.
  41. ^ Dowson, John (1879). "A classical dictionary of Hindu mythology and religion, geography, history and literature". London: Trubner & Co.: 65.
  42. ^ Pargiter, F. Eden (1904). The Markandeya Purana. Translated with Notes. Calcutta: The Asiatic Society. p. 28.
  43. ^ Temple, Richard Carnac (1884). The legends of the Panjâb. Volume 2. Education Society's Press, Bombay. p. 257.
  44. ^ "Translation of the Songs of Harkh Na'Th". Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. Asiatic Society of Bengal. 55: 121. 1881. When I beheld thy face mournful, lady, I wandered restlessly o'er the world, Thy face is like the moon, and my heart like the chakor
  45. ^ Balfour, Edward (1871). Cyclopædia of India and of eastern and southern Asia, commercial, industrial and scientific: products of the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms, useful arts and manufactures. Scottish & Adelphi Presses. The birds are said by the natives to be enamoured of the moon and, at full moon, to eat fire

External links


Alectoris is a genus of partridges in the family Phasianidae, closely related to Old World quail (Coturnix and relatives), snowcocks (Tetraogallus), partridge-francolins (Pternistis), bush quail (Perdicula), and sand and see-see partridges (Ammoperdix). Members of the genus are known collectively as rock partridges (a name that also refers to one species in particular, Alectoris graeca). The genus name is from Ancient Greek: αλέκτωρ, translit. alektor, rooster.Their fossils date back to the early Pleistocene, with extant representatives in southern Europe, North Africa and Arabia, and across Asia in Pakistan to Tibet and western China.


Avipoxvirus is a member of the family Poxviridae. Poxviridae is the family of viruses which cause the victim organism to have poxes as a symptom. Poxviruses have generally large genomes, and other such examples include smallpox and monkeypox. Members of the genus Avipoxvirus infect specifically birds. Avipoxviruses are unable to complete their replication cycle in non avian species. Although it is comparably slow-spreading, Avipoxvirus is known to cause symptoms like pustules full of pus lining the skin and diphtheria-like symptoms. These diphtheria-like symptoms might include dipitheric necrotic membranes lining the mouth and the upper respiratory tract. Like other avian viruses, it can be transmitted through vectors mechanically such as through mosquitoes. There is no evidence that this virus can infect humans.Avipoxvirus is a virus that is brick shaped and is usually 200 nanometres in diameter. This is much larger than normal viruses, which are around 60 nanometre in diameter. This virus can only be contracted through vectors and consumption of infected items, but they can be filtered by a special water filter. This filter is called a Large Volume Water Sampler (LVWS).

Unlike other viruses, Avipoxvirus can withstand extreme dryness. With this advantage, it can spread on dust particles. This is because it has adapted to living in the dry mucous membranes of an infected host's upper respiratory tract.

The effects of this virus might increase the difficulty of breathing, eating, and drinking significantly. Exterior lesions are restricted to the non-feathered parts of the body, usually the face and legs and are characterized by proliferative and necrotizing dermatitis. Another feature of this bird pox that has been observed is the presence of blood sacs or blisters filled with bloody fluid that will collapse when pierced with a needle and allowed to drain.

This virus has the highest mortality rate in upland game birds such as pheasant, quail, and chukar partridge, as well as in songbirds, seabirds such as gulls, parrots, and some raptors such as the peregrine falcon.

Other names for this particular virus might include avian pox, fowlpox, canarypox, juncopox, and mynahpox.

Carlos Avery Game Farm

Carlos Avery Game Farm is a complex of 11 buildings at Carlos Avery State Wildlife Management Area in Minnesota, United States, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The buildings are the administrative center for the wildlife management area, which extends across a large part of Anoka and Chisago counties, as well as for a number of other Minnesota Department of Natural Resources properties in the area. The nomination for the NRHP noted that when it opened in 1937, it was one of the largest and best-equipped game farms in the nation, as well as one of the first large-scale wildlife management efforts in Minnesota.

The refuge was named after Carlos Avery (1868-1930), executive agent of the Minnesota Game and Fish Commission from 1907 to 1909 and 1915 to 1923. It was established with 8,000 acres (3,200 ha) obtained from the Crex Carpet Company. The carpet company had harvested a wire grass from the land for use in the manufacture of rugs. The land was tax forfeited in 1933 and then purchased by the Minnesota Conservation Commission. Carlos Avery game farms were formally opened and dedicated to the former game warden in 1938.The land was ideal for production of bobwhite quail, which had been plentiful in Minnesota but was on the decline. In 1935, the United States government asked states to submit projects for relief of unemployment. The game refuge was approved by the Works Progress Administration and established by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The refuge was outfitted with five buildings, including a central heating plant and pumphouse, two houses, a combination barn/henhouse, and an incubation room. Other functional areas in the refuge included a sanctuary for wild birds and animals, a nursery, and room for public hunting.Production of bobwhite quail began with 200 pairs of birds raised in a game farm in Mound, Minnesota. The first breeding resulted in 1879 birds, with 1000 of them retained for future breeding and the release of the rest. The bobwhite quail project continued until 1955. The refuge also hosted breeding for chukar partridge from 1939 through 1947, ring-necked pheasants from 1947 through 1981, and the reintroduction of the Canada goose from 1950 through 1970. In 1981, though, the management philosophy changed. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources discontinued large-scale breeding programs and changed its focus to improving habitat and providing nesting cover and food. As of 2009, the wildlife management area contains a 4,500-acre (1,800 ha) sanctuary that is closed to all hunting and trespassing. Outside the sanctuary, the primary recreational opportunities include hunting for waterfowl, deer, and squirrels. It also provides trapping for mink, muskrats, raccoons, and beavers. More than 272 species of birds are attracted to the refuge, providing popular opportunities for bird watching.


The term chucker can have several different meanings.

Chucker, in cricket is a derisive slang term for a bowler who is believed to throw, rather than bowl, the ball.

A chukka is a 7-minute period of play in polo.

Chukar partridge (Alectoris chukar), a bird


Chukar may refer to:

Chukar partridge (Alectoris chukar), a Eurasian upland gamebird in the pheasant family Phasianidae

Chukar (rural locality), a rural locality (a selo) in Nyurbinsky District of the Sakha Republic, Russia

Northrop BQM-74 Chukar, a series of aerial target drones

Chukar Entertainment, a student organization in Treasure Valley Community College, a community college in Ontario, Oregon, U.S.A.

Empress Market

The Empress Market (Urdu: ایمپریس مارکیٹ‬‎, Sindhi: ايمپريس مارڪيٽ) is a marketplace situated in the Saddar Town locality of Karachi, Pakistan. The market traces its origins to the British Raj era, when it was first constructed. Today, it is amongst the most popular and busy places for shopping in Karachi. Commodities sold in the Empress Market range from condiments, fruit, vegetables and meat to stationery material, textiles and pets.

Fauna of Pakistan

Pakistan's native fauna reflect its varied climatic zones.

Gorget (bird)

A gorget is a patch of colored feathers found on the throat or upper breast of some species of birds. It is a feature found on many male hummingbirds, particularly those found in North America; these gorgets are typically iridescent. Other species, such as the purple-throated fruitcrow and chukar partridge, also show the feature. The term is derived from the gorget used in military armor to protect the throat.

Feather wear and exposure to the sun can produce changes in the apparent color of iridescent gorget feathers. For example, fresh gorget feathers on the Anna's hummingbird are rose red; these fade to a coppery bronzy color with age.

Hazarganji-Chiltan National Park

Hazarganji Chiltan National Park is a national park in the Mastung District of western Balochistan Province of Pakistan. It lies between Chiltan on its west and Hazarganji on the east. The park was established in 1980 to provide the habitat to rare Chiltan ibexes found in the area.It was established in 1980 and covers 325,000 acre of land located close to the Koh-i-Chiltan mountain in Quetta's outskirt.The park is located in the Sulaiman Mountains, with desert and forest habitats, about 20 kilometres (12 mi) southwest of the city of Quetta.

List of national birds

This is a list of national birds, most official, but some unofficial.

National symbols of Pakistan

Pakistan has several official national symbols including a historic document, a flag, an emblem, an anthem, a memorial tower as well as several national heroes. The symbols were adopted at various stages in the existence of Pakistan and there are various rules and regulations governing their definition or use. The oldest symbol is the Lahore Resolution, adopted by the All India Muslim League on 23 March 1940, and which presented the official demand for the creation of a separate country for the Muslims of India. The Minar-e-Pakistan memorial tower which was built in 1968 on the site where the Lahore Resolution was passed. The national flag was adopted just before independence was achieved on 14 August 1947. The national anthem and the state emblem were each adopted in 1954. There are also several other symbols including the national animal, bird, flower and tree.

Pakistan Monument

The Pakistan Monument (Urdu: یادبود پاکستان‬‎) is a national monument and heritage museum located on the western Shakarparian Hills in Islamabad, Pakistan. The monument was constructed to symbolize the unity of the Pakistani people. Its elevation makes the monument visible from across the Islamabad-Rawalpindi metropolitan area and is a popular tourist destination.


Perdicinae is a subfamily of birds in the pheasant family, Phasianidae, regrouping the partridges, Old World quails, and francolins. Although this subfamily was considered monophyletic and separated from the pheasants, tragopans, junglefowls, and peafowls (Phasianinae) till the early 1990s, molecular phylogenies have shown that these two subfamilies actually constitute only one lineage. For example, some partridges (Perdix genus) are more closely affiliated to pheasants, whereas Old World quails and partridges from the Alectoris genus are closer to junglefowls.Perdicinae is a non-migratory Old World group. These are medium-sized birds, and are native to Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. They are ground-nesting seed-eaters. The subfamily includes the partridges, the snowcocks, the francolins, the spurfowl and the Old World quail.

Pin Valley National Park

Pin Valley National Park is a National park of India located within the Lahaul and Spiti district, in the state of Himachal Pradesh, in far Northern India.

Quaid-e-Azam Library

The Quaid-e-Azam Library (Urdu: قائداعظم لائبریری‬‎) is a public library in located within the Bagh-e-Jinnah in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. The Library was constructed in the mid 19th century during the British Raj compromises of Victorian era Lawrence and Montgomery halls. The library has a collection of 125,000 books in English, Urdu, Arabic and Persian.

Rock partridge

The rock partridge (Alectoris graeca) is a gamebird in the pheasant family, Phasianidae, of the order Galliformes (gallinaceous birds).

This partridge has its main (native) range in southern Europe, and is closely related and very similar to its eastern equivalent, the Chukar partridge, A. chukar.

This is a resident breeder in dry, open and often hilly country. It nests in a scantily lined ground scrape laying 5-21 eggs. The rock partridge takes a wide variety of seeds and some insect food.

The rock partridge is a rotund 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 chukar partridge, but is greyer on the back and has a white, not yellowish foreneck. The sharply defined gorget distinguishes this species from red-legged partridge. The song is a noisy ga-ga-ga-ga-chakera- chakera- chakera.

This species is declining in parts of its range due to habitat loss and over-hunting. While it generally manages to hold its own, the status of the Sicilian population may be more precarious and certainly deserves attention (Randi 2006).

Table Mountain Wilderness

The Table Mountain Wilderness is a protected wilderness area in the Monitor Range of Nye County in central section of the state of Nevada. It is the third largest wilderness area in the state. The nearest city is Tonopah, Nevada. The Table Mountain Wilderness Area covers 92,600 acres (37,500 ha), and is administered by the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. The 1860s ghost town of Belmont is nearby.The Table Mountain Wilderness is a partially forested tableland, or high plateau, which lies at the center of the Monitor Range. Table Mountain itself rises to 10,000 feet (3,000 m) and covers an area of 12 square miles (31 km2). There are significant herds of mule deer and elk as well as mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, beaver, chukar partridge, sage grouse, blue grouse, golden eagles, hawks, and falcons. The deer and elk herds are among the largest in the state. Five fishing streams hold rainbow, brook, brown, and Lahontan cutthroat trout. Aspen trees are very common. Pines, juniper, mountain mahogany, and cottonwood are also found. Horse packing and riding, hiking and backpacking are popular activities. The most popular trail is the Barley Creek Trail which is 6 miles (10 km) long, not counting forks. Other trailheads are at Mosquito Creek, Clear Creek, and Green Monster Canyon. A 20-mile (32 km) loop trail follows Cottonwood Creek, which has beaver ponds. There are over 100 miles (160 km) of trails.Wilderness areas do not allow motorized or mechanical equipment including bicycles. Although camping and fishing are allowed with proper permit, no roads or buildings are constructed and there is also no logging or mining, in compliance with the 1964 Wilderness Act. Wilderness areas within National Forests and Bureau of Land Management areas also allow hunting in season. The elk herd, which had disappeared from this region, was reintroduced in 1979 and is doing well. In 1999 the second largest bull elk ever taken in the 20th century in North America was taken in this wilderness.

Tyup Game Reserve

Tyup Game Reserve is a protected area in Tup District of Issyk Kul Province of Kyrgyzstan. It was established in 1976 in a basin of Tyup River to protect roe deer, boar, and Cervus elaphus. The reserve occupies 15,000 hectares.

Wildlife of Pakistan

The wildlife of Pakistan comprises a diverse flora and fauna in a wide range of habitats from sea level to high elevation areas in the mountains, including 177 mammal and 660 bird species. This diverse composition of the country's fauna is associated with its location in the transitional zone between two major zoogeographical regions, the Palearctic, and the Oriental.

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