Alectoris chukar JE Gray, 1830
Common names: Chukar partridge, Chukar [En], Perdrix choukar [Fr], Aziatische steenpatrijs [Nl], Chukarhuhn [De], Chukar [It], Perdiz chucar [Es], Περδίκι [Gr], Kınalı keklik, Kaya Kekliği [Tu]
IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)
Aghios Athanasios, MILOS ● Greece
Description: The chukar is a rotund 32–35 cm long partridge, with a light brown back, grey breast, and buff belly. The shades vary across the various populations. 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 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. The tail has 14 feathers, the third primary is the longest while the first is level with the fifth and sixth primaries.
It is very similar to the rock partridge (Alectoris graeca) with which it has been lumped in the past but is browner on the back and has a yellowish tinge to the foreneck.
There are fourteen recognized subspecies:
• A. c. chukar JE Gray, 1830 – nominate – eastern Afghanistan to eastern Nepal
• A. c. cypriotes Hartert, 1917 – island chukar – southeastern Bulgaria to southern Syria, Crete, Rhodes and Cyprus
• A. c. dzungarica Sushkin, 1927 – northwestern Mongolia to Russian Altai and eastern Tibet
• A. c. falki Hartert, 1917 – north central Afghanistan to Pamir Mountains and western China
• A. c. kleini Hartert, 1925 – Southeastern Bulgaria, Northeastern Greece, Northern Aegean islands, Northern Turkey and Caucasus.
• A. c. koroviakovi Zarudny, 1914 – Persian chukar – eastern Iran to Pakistan
• A. c. kurdestanica Meinertzhagen, 1923 – Kurdestan chukar – Caucasus Mountains to Iran
• A. c. pallescens Hume, 1873 – northern chukar – northeastern Afghanistan to Ladakh and western Tibet
• A. c. pallida Hume, 1873 – northwestern China
• A. c. potanini Sushkin, 1927 – western Mongolia
• A. c. pubescens Swinhoe, 1871 – inner Mongolia to northwestern Sichuan and eastern Qinghai
• A. c. sinaica Bonaparte, 1858 – northern Syrian Desert to Sinai Peninsula
• A. c. subpallida Zarudny, 1914 – Tajikistan
• A. c. werae Zarudny & Loudon, 1904 – Iranian chukar – eastern Iraq and southwestern Iran
Biology: 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. 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. When disturbed, it prefers to run rather than fly, but if necessary it flies a short distance.
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 male may also performs a high step stiff walk while making a special call. Males are monogamous. 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. The eggs hatch in about 23–25 days.
Chukar will take a wide variety of seeds and some insects as food. It also ingests grit.
Habitat: Rocky open hillsides with grass or scattered scrub or cultivation, from 400 m below sea level in the Dead Sea area, to 2,000 to 4,000 m.
Distribution: Asia, from Western Asia 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.
It has been introduced widely as a game bird, in United States, Canada, Chile, Argentina, New Zealand and Hawaii.
Wikipedia, Chukar partridge