Family Pheasants, Partridges, Turkeys, Grouse (Phasianidae)

Least Concern

Chukar (Alectoris chukar)


Taxonomy

French: Perdrix choukar German: Chukarhuhn Spanish: Perdiz chúcar
Other common names: Chukar Partridge
Taxonomy:

Perdix Chukar

J. E. Gray

, 1830,

India = Srinagar

.

Closely related to A. graeca, A. magna and A. philbyi#R, and all four have been considered conspecific. Name falki is a replacement for kakelik, which is regarded as indeterminate. Hybridizes readily with congeners where one or the other introduced. Geographical variation complex, with marked clinal variation and much intergradation; many additional races described, including, among others, caucasica (synonymized with kleini), scotti (included in cypriotes), daghestanica and armenica (both now in kurdestanica), farsiana (subsumed within werae), laptevi and dementievi (included in shestoperovi), obscurata (synonymized with dzungarica), ordoscensis (included in pubescens), and most recently asoica (type locality NE Iraq, where it is said to be occur between the altitudinal ranges of werae and kurdestanica; unevaluated here); full taxonomic reappraisal required. Sixteen subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. c. kleini E. J. O. Hartert, 1915 – SE Bulgaria and NE Greece, NW & N Turkey and Caucasus.
  • A. c. cypriotes E. J. O. Hartert, 1917 – SW & SC Turkey, Crete, Rhodes and Cyprus.
  • A. c. sinaica (Bonaparte, 1858) – N Syrian Desert S to Sinai Peninsula and presumably NW Saudi Arabia#R; some authorities restrict this race to S part of this range, recognizing cypriotes as occurring S as far as N Israel (genetic distance between N and S Israeli populations quite marked#R).
  • A. c. kurdestanica R. Meinertzhagen, 1923 – Caucasus S to SE Turkey, N Syria, N Iraq and N Iran.
  • A. c. werae (Zarudny & Loudon, 1904) – E Iraq and SW Iran.
  • A. c. shestoperovi Sushkin, 1927 – Turkmenistan and N Afghanistan.
  • A. c. subpallida (Zarudny, 1914) – Uzbekistan, SE Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.
  • A. c. koroviakovi (Zarudny, 1914) – E Iran E to W Pakistan.
  • A. c. falki E. J. O. Hartert, 1917 – NE Kazakhstan S to NC Afghanistan and E to NW China (W Xinjiang).
  • A. c. dzungarica Sushkin, 1927 – E Tien Shan to Altai, Tuva Republic and NW Mongolia.
  • A. c. pallescens (A.O. Hume, 1873) – NE Afghanistan and S Pamirs E through NW India to W Tibetan Plateau.
  • A. c. fallax Sushkin, 1927 – Tien Shan Mts of NW Xinjiang, in NW China.
  • A. c. pallida (A.O. Hume, 1873) – NW China (W & S Xinjiang).
  • A. c. chukar (J. E. Gray, 1830) – E Afghanistan E to Nepal.
  • A. c. pubescens (Swinhoe, 1871) – N China from W Qinghai and W Sichuan NE through Inner Mongolia to Liaoning.
  • A. c. potanini Sushkin, 1927 – W Mongolia and N China (N Gansu and Inner Mongolia).
  • Indeterminate mixed populations of present species and A. graeca introduced to UK, Russia, USA (koroviakovi, chukar), Canada, Mexico, St Helena and New Zealand (koroviakovi); races werae and apparently cypriotes introduced into United Arab Emirates; Hawaiian birds known to derive from present species (chukar).

    Descriptive notes

    32–39 cm; male 504–800 g, female 450–680 g; wingspan 47–52 cm. Difficult to separate in field from A. graeca; slight differences (but most... read more

    Voice

    Generally similar to A. rufa and is most vocal around dawn and through morning hours:... read more

    Habitat

    Bare stony slopes with short grass, sparsely covered with short shrubs, but microhabitat features... read more

    Food and feeding

    Bulbous roots, grain and shoots of grass and cereals, berries, and insects (including their eggs). During periods of high rainfall, grass... read more

    Breeding

    Laying mid Apr to May in Mediterranean region, rarely late Mar, and until Aug in Israel, where pairs form between Jan and Feb; Feb onwards... read more

    Movements

    Descends in winter from upper altitudes. In mornings birds work their way uphill foraging. Strong,... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Mace Lande: safe. Very widely distributed, both in native Palearctic range and also where introduced in USA (initially to Illinois in... read more

    Recommended citation

    McGowan, P.J.K. & Kirwan, G.M. (2018). Chukar (Alectoris chukar). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/53380 on 14 November 2018).