This article is about a bird. For the target drone, see BQM-74 Chukar.
The Chukar, Alectoris chukar is a Eurasian upland gamebird in the pheasant family Phasianidae of the order Galliformes, gallinaceous birds. Other common names of this bird include 'Chukker' (sometimes misspelled as 'Chuker'), 'Chukar Partridge', 'Red-legged Partridge', 'Rock Partridge', 'Indian Hill Partridge', 'Chukka', 'Chukkar', 'Chukor', 'Chukore', 'Chikone', 'Kabk', 'Kau-Kau', and 'Keklik'.
This partridge has its native range in Asia from Pakistan and Kashmir, into the Republic of India (Himachal Pradesh and Punjab states). And Afghanistan 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. It has been introduced widely, and became established in the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Hawaii. In Great Britain, hybrids between this species and the also introduced Red-legged Partridge are common.
Biology and behavior
The Chukar is a resident breeder in dry, open, and often hilly country. 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 1 egg per day throughout the breeding season if the eggs are collected daily.
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 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 Red-legged Partridge. The song is a noisy chuck-chuck-chukar-chukar.
The Chukar is the National bird of Pakistan and the name is derived from Chakhoor in Urdu. In Indian mythology, the bird is said to be in love with the moon and to look at it constantly. In the United States, the Idaho Falls Chukars are a minor league baseball team in the Pioneer League.
Population and conservation status
This species is relatively unaffected by hunting or loss of habitat due to its remote and physically demanding terrain preferences. Its numbers from year to year are most largely affected by weather patterns during the breeding season.