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Jun 08 2011

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Chukar Partridge (Alectoris chukar)


Chukar Partridge

[order] GALLIFORMES | [family] Phasianidae | [latin] Alectoris chukar | [UK] Chukar Partridge | [FR] Perdrix choukar | [DE] Chukar-Steinhuhn | [ES] Perdiz chukar | [NL] Aziatische Steenpatrijs

Subspecies

Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Alectoris chukar EU s
Alectoris chukar chukar e Afghanistan to Nepal
Alectoris chukar cypriotes Crete, Rhodes, Cyprus, sw and sc Turkey
Alectoris chukar dzungarica Tien Shan Mts. (e Kazakhstan, w China) to nw Mongolia
Alectoris chukar falki w Uzbekistan to nc Afghanistan and w China
Alectoris chukar kleini n Greece though Bulgaria and n Turkey to the Caucasus
Alectoris chukar koroviakovi ne and e Iran to w Pakistan
Alectoris chukar kurdestanica se Turkey, n Syria, n Iraq to n Iran
Alectoris chukar pallescens ne Afghanistan to w Tibet
Alectoris chukar pallida w Xinjiang (w China)
Alectoris chukar potanini w Mongolia, nw China
Alectoris chukar pubescens ne Xinjiang ( w China) to sw Mongolia and n Ningxia (c China)
Alectoris chukar sinaica Syria to Sinai Pen. (Egypt)
Alectoris chukar subpallida c Turkmenistan to c Uzbekistan and n Afghanistan
Alectoris chukar werae e Iraq, sw Iran

Physical charateristics

A chunky, medium-sized bird introduced into North America from Eurasia, the Chukar is a pale-colored, but boldly patterned bird. The bird’s red bill and legs contrast with its pale gray upperparts. A black line surrounds the bird’s whitish throat and cheek, and extends over its eyes. The Chukar’s sides are cream with bold black stripes. Pale orange under-tail coverts and red outer feathers adorn its short gray tail.
Often found in small groups, especially in the winter, Chukars feed primarily on the ground, but will climb into shrubs or trees for berries.

Listen to the sound of Chukar Partridge

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Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 47 cm wingspan max.: 52 cm
size min.: 32 cm size max.: 34 cm
incubation min.: 22 days incubation max.: 24 days
fledging min.: 7 days fledging max.: 24 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 8  
      eggs max.: 15  

Range

Eurasia : South

Habitat

Chukars can be found on steep, dry, rocky slopes with shrub-steppe vegetation. Because cheatgrass is a major food source, Chukars are often spotted near this introduced grass. They survive at elevations ranging from 500 to 4,000 feet.

Reproduction

To make the nest, the female creates a depression in the ground and lines it with grass, twigs, and feathers. The nest is typically hidden under a shrub or rock. Clutches are large, with 8-14 eggs that the female incubates. Female Chukars sometimes lay a second clutch of eggs that the male will incubate while she continues to incubate the first. Shortly after hatching, the young leave the nest to find their own food, although one or both parents will continue to tend them for some time.

Feeding habits

In the winter, Chukars feed primarily on seeds, cheatgrass, and thistles, switching to insects and green leaves in the summer. Many of the Chukar’s major food sources, like the bird itself, have been introduced from Eurasia.

Conservation

This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Alectoris chukar is resident in south-eastern Europe, which accounts for less than a quarter of its global range. Its European breeding population is large (>660,000 pairs), but underwent a large decline between 1970-1990. Although the species was stable in much of its European range during 1990-2000, it declined substantially in its Turkish stronghold, and probably underwent a large decline (>30%) overall.
The first Chukars were introduced in North America in 1893. They thrive on overgrazed open ranges where there is no agriculture. Chukars typically exist in areas unoccupied by other upland birds, thus their introduction does not interfere with native species.
Chukar Partridge status Least Concern

Migration

Generally sedentary, but may make seasonal altitudinal movements.

Distribution map

Chukar Partridge distribution range map

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