Chukar Partridge (24)
Species: Alectoris Chukar
The Chukar is a rotund 32–35 cm 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.
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.
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.