Friday, November 14, 2008

Holy Crap a Chukar!

My wife and son swear they spotted a living, breathing, hopping, not-flying-so-much Chukar in our front yard this morning. What is a 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'.
In other words, a Chukar is a lovely chicken-ish bird with a long list of go-by names that enrage this text editor's inline spelling checker. While my front yard is very close to my house and thus far distant from the uplands of Eurasia -- no, I cannot see the uplands of Eurasia from my front porch on even the clearest of days -- there is an explanation:
A native of southern Eurasia, the Chukar was introduced into the United States from Pakistan to be a game bird. It lives in arid, rocky terrain across the western United States and southern Canada.
People brought Chukars to this region so they could shoot them dead and stuff their carcasses. I wish I had seen it -- the living bird itself, not the shooting and carcass-stuffing.


Jeffrey said...

I've had a mated pair living in my neck-of-the-woods, a.k.a. - Ocean Springs, MS for about 2 months now.

Bpaul said...

They are beautiful birds, and interestingly, follow quite closely the range and spread of another non-native species: cheatgrass.

They live in such marginal habitat that most folks haven't made a big fuss out of their spread across the U.S., despite being non-native. They're popular with hunters and bird-watchers alike, and hell -- look at the picture, what's not to like.

EagleLies said...

I just saw one in Richmond, Virginia. it was in someones yard for a whole day, very interesting bird. will post pictures at my blog under chuker bird.