Monday, December 27, 2010

Chukar – the national bird of Pakistan

The Chukar Partridge (Alectoris chukar) is a Eurasian upland game bird in the pheasant family Phasianidae of the order Galliformes, gallinaceous birds. Its native range in Asia from Pakistan and Kashmir, India and Afghanistan. It is closely related and similar to its western equivalent, the Red-legged Partridge. 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. Chukar prefers rocky, steep, and open hillsides and is abundantly available in Pakistan.
The Chukar is a resident breeder in dry, open, and often hilly country. In the wild, Chukar travel in groups of 5-40 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. When in captivity, they will lay 1 egg per day throughout the breeding season if the eggs are collected daily.
For hunters, Chakur is a very challenging bird because of its surgical upward flights and sudden disappearances in the bushes. I have accompanied some hunter friends of mine many a times, and found this highly agile bird to be very difficult to shoot. Once threatened, it hides itself into bushes and camouflages itself so securely and tightly that it is hard to get it out again.
Related Reading: Bird Watching in Pakistan (Pakistanpaedia)

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