Chukar partridge

The national bird of Pakistan and Iraq is known to improve degraded ecosystems by aiding in the dispersal and germination of seeds

Assaf Levy

A robust game bird that graces the rocky, arid terrains of Asia and parts of the Middle East. Recognizable by its striking appearance and hardy nature, the Chukar has also been introduced to various other parts of the world, including North America and parts of Europe, for hunting and sport.

Native to the rocky slopes and grasslands, the Chukar is well-adapted to life in challenging environments where water can be scarce and the terrain rugged. They are predominantly ground dwellers, capable of swift running, which aids in their escape from predators. Their preference for open areas also allows them to detect and flee from threats quickly.

Chukars have a distinctive look characterized by their stout bodies, strong legs, and a black band across the forehead and eyes, resembling an eyeliner extending down the sides of the neck. This band contrasts sharply with the white face and throat. The body is a mixture of gray, brown, and buff, with striking black and white bars on the flanks, which add to their camouflage in their native rocky habitats.

An interesting behavior of the Chukar Partridge is its daily dust baths, which are essential for maintaining the health and cleanliness of their feathers. This activity helps rid their plumage of parasites and maintains its insulating properties.

When it comes to flight, Chukars are strong and fast, albeit typically preferring to run. Their flight is more of a last resort but can be quite effective in evading hunters and predators. Their ability to ascend steep rock faces with ease earns them comparisons to mountain goats in terms of their agility.

In regions like the UK, the breeding of Chukar and red-legged partridge is controlled because of concerns over producing captive-bred hybrids. These hybrids can pose a threat to the genetic integrity of wild species. In captivity, Chukars are susceptible to diseases such as mycoplasmosis and erysipelas, which can spread rapidly through captive flocks.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Afghanistan
2018
Armenia
2018
Breeding
Azerbaijan
2018
Bahrain
2018
Introduced
Bulgaria
2018
Canada
2018
Introduced
China
10,000-100,000 pairs
Official estimate
LC
2018
Breeding
Cyprus
2018
Egypt
2018
France
2018
Breeding
Georgia
2018
Breeding
Germany
2018
Breeding
Greece
2018
India
2018
Breeding
Iran
2018
Iraq
2018
Israel
2018
Italy
2018
Breeding
Jordan
2018
Kazakhstan
2018
Breeding
Kyrgyzstan
2018
Breeding
Lebanon
2018
Mongolia
2018
Breeding
Nepal
2018
Breeding
New Zealand
2018
Breeding
North Macedonia
2018
Introduced
Norway
2018
Breeding
Oman
2018
Pakistan
2018
Breeding
Portugal
2018
Breeding
Russia
2018
Breeding: European Russia
Russia
2018
Vagrant: Central Asian Russia
Saint Helena
2018
Introduced
Saudi Arabia
2018
South Africa
2018
Breeding
Spain
2018
Breeding
Syria
2018
Tajikistan
2018
Breeding
Turkey
2018
Turkmenistan
2018
Breeding
UAE
2018
Ukraine
2018
Breeding
United States
2018
Breeding: Hawaiian Is.
Uzbekistan
2018
Breeding

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd / Flock

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No