The Chukar is the National bird of Pakistan. Chukar (Alectoris chukar) is a Eurasian upland game bird in the pheasant family Phasianidae. The Chukar partridge is a small chicken-like bird and it is very easy to keep and breed in captivity.
The most distinguishing features of Chukar are the vivid black and white stripes that decorate the wings and the black band that runs across the eyes, resembling a blindfold, down neck and onto chest. The face is white with a black gorge, and the beak is short, strong, and orange in colour.Throat white. Bill and legs red. Short, rounded wings.The upper body and head feathers of the chukar are brown, becoming more bluish-grey towards the lower body and tail. It has short neck and tail and Grayish brown back and chest. Buffy belly. Bold black and chestnut barring on flanks. The tail has 14 feathers, the third primary is the longest while the first is level with the fifth and sixth primaries. Chukars inhabiting more humid areas tend to be darker and more olive in colour, while those in more arid areas are a paler grey or yellow.
The Chukar is a rotund 32–35 cm (13–14 in) long partridge, with a light brown back, grey breast, and buff belly. Sexes are similar, the female slightly smaller in size and lacking the spur. Chukar chicks have cream and brown down with pale undersides.
The Chukor is a very noisy bird and repeated constantly in a sharp, clear tone. This tone can be heard for a mile or more through the pure mountain air. The call is frequent during the day especially in the mornings and evenings.The calls of the Chukar are numerous and variable.
The commonest call of Chukar is a "Rallying call" which it is when disturbed. It prefers to run rather than fly, but if necessary it flies a short distance often down a slope on rounded wings, calling immediately after alighting. At low intensities the call is chuck, chuck, chuck,given slowly and with definite breaks between each call.As the intensity of the calling rises, it changes to perchuck, per-chuck with accent on the second syllable, andit is given at faster tempo. This in turn gives way to chukar-chukar-chukar with accent on the first syllable.Chukars seem to prefer to use this call from the vantage point of a rock where they have a good view of the surroundings. The throaty chucking is very resonant and indicated that the rally call was audible for 300 yards or over under favorable conditions. The rally call is heard primarily during the early morning and evening hours, although it is used infrequently throughout the day. Both sexes use this call, but during the nesting season it appears to be used more bmales. during the breeding season the primary function of the rally call is to space males rather than to attract a mate and thacalling at dawn and dusk serves as a deterrent to regulate overall population density. During the summer, fall and winter when the birds travel in coveys, and when covey is broken up, the rally call is a primary method used for locating one another.The rally call is an indicator of strongest dominance and aggression.
The Ground alarm call is when the birds separate in long, curving downhill flights. As they burst from the ground the first call is aloud piercing squeal, followed by a series of whitoo whitoo calls gradually subsiding as the birds disappear out of range.This calls is most commonly heard in the field.
Hawk-alarm note is when a large bird flying overhead generally elicits a short, guttural kerrrr. It is evenly pitched and given with little mouth movement, but it is audible for perhaps 100 feet. If the disturbance is not too close, the bird will crouch on the spot and turn its head sideways to get the best possible view. The call may be repeated several times by the first bird to see the disturbance and also by other birds in the pen even though they cannot see the danger. More sudden or closer sources of danger sometimes send the entire flock of Chukars flying or running hastily to cover: When first placed in new surroundings, the birds were alarmed at many disturbances. Later the birds might give a single errrrk with scarcely a break in their activity.
On-guard call is a low-pitched, undulating kwerr given when a hawk continues soaring overhead. The birds give it while frozen and looking up at the hawk either from cover or out in the open. It may be given intermittently for several minutes or until the hawk has disappeared.
Steam-engine call is when a male in breeding season may give a harsh chak-chak-chak call, sometimes lasting for five minutes on end; at other times, just a few isolated calls may be given.”The steam-engine call comes with high intensity conflict between aggression and escape where the calling bird is somewhat subordinate to the rival.
AU’s well’ call is when a loafing or feeding bird will at times give a soft plaintive coo-OOY, rising in pitch on the second syllable. Birds give this call when there is no apparent strife or tension from outside sources. The call frequently signifies the end of a period of alarm from the air. This is the call of a paired male given while standing at ease. It only from males in the breeding season.
Waltzing call is in between waltzing bouts while the male is standing laterally to the male or female in tense, erect position, he will often give a call of several seconds duration much like the aerial alarm call. It is ermk, the latter being shorter in length. The waltzing call is given by a bird that is somewhat dominant, especially over a female due to the conflict probably between aggression, escape, and sexual tendencies.
Submissive squeal is when a bird being chased or suddenly attacked may give a rasping squeal lasting one or two seconds with bill held wide open. Chukar squeals when are it chased by another aggressive Chukar
during his attempts to copulate. Submissive cocks also squealed when being dominated by a cock. If a bird was actually grabbed by the nape, it was likely to continue squealing until it had broken loose from the attacking bird. The merest move in the direction of the subordinate bird was often enough to elicit a squeal. This sort of squeal was most common during the breeding season, a time when aggressiveness between birds was at a peak. Dominant birds continued their attacks during and after squeals without letup. The squeal is given by distinctly subordinate birds with strong escape tendencies.
Food call is when“Single birds feeding at the hopper or scratching in the litter frequently gave a slow took. This is sharp and emphatic with a clear pause between each note.
Another group of calls occurs only in the breeding season and seems to function in bringing the pair together for copulation and orientation to the nest. I have designated these as sexual calls.
Tidbitting call is during the tidbitting display the male utters a rapid tu-tu-tu-twta, which becomes more rapid and higher pitched as tidbitting continues. A single round of calling may last over a minute. This call is varied in pitch and is longer and louder. This may be merely a difference of intensity.
Pitoo call is which the male gives in the presence of the female as a single call or re- peated every few seconds. At such times he is relaxed and moving about freely, never in display. But typically the call precedes a bout of tidbitting or may be injected among the tidbitting calls.
Nest-ceremony call is given when Chukar is exploring for nest sites or turning in a nest scrape. This call is a soft continuous rising and falling erratically in pitch. It is very similar to the food call.
Copdation-intention call is given when a male intends to copulate with a female . During this stage male invariably announces his intention to copulate with a deep-throated rattle, uh-uh-uh-uh. when dominant males were strongly motivated sexually and give this copulation-intention call before running up behind submissive cocks and grabbing them.
The calls given during Agonistic behavior are thus good indicators of the motivation of the calling birds. During fall and winter Chukar Partridges tolerate each other and spend much of their time in coveys. Birds roost and loaf in tight groups, and even while feeding they remain close together. However, with advent of spring, intolerance is. Birds roost and loaf in tight groups, and even while feeding they remain close together. However, with advent of spring, intolerance increases and males may become strongly aggressive toward others. Aggressiveness in birds is known to in- with increased testosterone output in spring.The range in behavior from attack at one extreme and escape at the other is known as agonist.
The most common display is the head tilt. In this the male tilts his head away from the bird being intimidated. At the same time the aggressive bird turns sideways to expose his barred flank feathers to the utmost. These flank feathers may be brought well up over the tightly folded wings. The feathers of neck and chin are fluffed out to such an extent that the neck appears to be half again as large as that of a female or subdued male. During a head tilt the male also stands erect and stiff. This low-intensity display is almost a necessary precursor to more intense displays. A male may make this threat toward a strange male on first encounter or toward other males as a means of forcing a subordinate male away from courting a female. Once the dominance of a male has been established, the head tilt proves an effective deterrent to subordinate males. The dominant male among my captive birds, about 30 feet away at the far end of the pen, had only to cock his head to make the outsider withdraw, even though there was a tight fence between them. The head tilt is the least aggressive of threat displays and the first to appear in the spring.
A more intense form of display occurs when the aggressive male makes a half circle about another bird, at the same time holding his head tilted toward the outside of the circle. Circling is performed by the bird destined to become the dominant one in a paired encounter. The dominant bird circles if the initial head dlts fail o make the second bird submissive. Where birds are fairly evenly matched, mutual circling may last for five minutes before the second bird escapes or crouches submissively. At lower intensity, circling may be a slow walk or a mere step or two. Circling is also frequent when a second male is courting a female. The aggressive
male uses this display to force the subordinate courting male away from the hen. Should the second male persist in remaining beside the hen, the aggressive male will make a series of very rapid half circles between the two birds. Like a well-trained cow pony, the aggressor will keep cutting the second male off from the hen no matter how fast the other male may be. When two males of equal dominance first meet in early spring, there will be mutual head tilting as the two birds stand several feet apart in stiff stance. Later they may run slowly side by side. An aggressive bird will never stand head on to another bird but always so that his flank feathers show. There may be periods in which no antagonism is demonstrated between nearly equal males. But after half an hour the dominance of one is established. Later in the season, as birds become more aggressive, an encounter seldom lasts more than two minutes before dominance is established.
If a male sights another male intruding on his territory, he will challenge the intruder by running straight toward him in a special manner found only in this situation. In running, the back and tail are horizontal and the head straight in front but somewhat lower than the back . On stopping, the bird stands up stiffly and gives a head tilt, turning sideways as he does SO. After a few seconds he will resume his run toward the intruder. He may make half a dozen such short spurts before coming close enough to the intruder to begin more intense displays. On returning to his mate the male may run in the same way.
Chukars have been found roosting on the ground beneath sagebrush, under juniper trees, in the shelter of rock outcrops and in open rocky areas. They do not seek dense cover for roosting.
Dusting plays an important part in the daily life of the chukar. Dusting bowls are frequently seen alongside trails, in the shelter of shrubs and juniper trees, near thebase of rocky outcrops, and particularly around watering sites where the birds seem to enjoy the damp soil. They are oblong-oval depressions in the earth and droppingsand a few feathers are usually found in and around them.
Peeping is done by young birds from the first week until they are nearly adult in size. When a brood of chicks is scattered peeping leads to their reunion. Young chicks will usually freeze for 10 to 15 minutes after being scattered and then peeping will begin. It often takes 30 minutes to an hour or more for a brood to reassemble. The reunion of the brood is directed by the adult bird who emits occasional calls that serve to guide the chicks. The chicks will run or make short flights toward the adult after the call. Peeping is almost continuous until the brood is reunited. If the brood is disturbed while in the process of reuniting, the chicks will again freeze, and the adult bird will give the alarm call if the intruder approaches closely.
The breeding season is summer. In summer, Chukars form pairs to breed. During this time, the cocks are very pugnacious calling and fighting. 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 males may chase females with head lowered, wing lowered and neck fluffed. The male may also performs a high step stiff walk while making a special call. Once a pair bond forms, a nesting territory is developed in which the male can be fairly aggressive at defending. Males are monogynous.
Once egg laying and incubation is initiated chukar are persistent re-nesters and nesting can occur through July if conditions are favorable. Chukar will re-nest after the initial nest is destroyed or if the brood is lost entirely at an early date; . As the nesting season progresses, the female faces some physiological challenges in producing a large brood when re-nesting because ovary regression is occurring. If the female is able to raise a brood of even one chick, it is felt that re-nesting does not take place.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 a overhanging rock
Chukar eggs are uniformaily white yellowish in color with numereous speckles of brown with varrying sizes andshapes.appearing over most of the the shell. Egg weigh over 16 to 25g and are oblaong in shape and are an averagae of 42 mm long and 32mm wide.Egg shell thickness is about 0.228mm and cell membrance about 0.047 mm. About 7 to 14 eggs are laid. The eggs hatch in about 23–25 days. Chicks grow quickly and be place outside at about 6 weeks. Chicks join their parents in foraging and will soon join the chicks of other members of the covey.
During the early fall months of September and October, chukar primarily consume the seeds. Chukar will take a wide variety of seeds and some insects as food. It also ingests grit. During winter they descend into the valleys and feed in fields.
Tallus slopes, rocky outcrops, scattered brush and clumps of grass over irregular terrain give the chukar sufficient opportunity to hide without difficulty.Chukars prefer an open, unimpeded view and often they are seen perched upon a prominent rock overlooking their domain. When disturbed their first reaction is to run uphill, which has proven to be a sound method of losing many an ardent hunter, and if the pursuer persists they will flush and then lie,utilizing the available cover to perfection.
This partridge has its native range in Asia, from Israel and Turkey through Afghanistan to India, along the inner ranges of the Western Himalayas to Nepal. habitat in the native range is rocky open hillsides with grass or scattered scrub or cultivation. It is mainly found at an altitude of 2000 to 4000 m except in Pakistan, where it occurs at 600m. They are not found in areas of high humidity or rainfall.
Chukar are sometimes preyed on by Golden Eagles.Chukar as good sport although they were not considered to be particularly good in flavour. In the non-breeding season, Chukar Partridge are found in small coveys of 10 or more up to 50 birds.