Living Bird Magazine
- ORDER: Galliformes
- FAMILY: Phasianidae
Introduced from Eurasia, the sandy-brown Chukar is a game bird that lives in high desert plains of western North America, as well as in Hawaii and New Zealand. Its namesake call echoes across dry rocky slopes. It runs and scampers up steep terrain with the agility and speed of a mountain goat, prompting hunters to nickname it the "devil bird" for the brutal chase it gives. Dark bars on the sides and a band across the head and neck adorn this red-billed game bird.More ID Info
Find This Bird
Despite their bold markings Chukars tend to blend in with their rocky surroundings. They are particularly wary, so it can take a bit to get a look at one before they run up the rocky hillside. Late March to May is a good time to go looking for them because males are more likely to call from prominent rocks, increasing the likelihood of getting a look at one. In the heat of late summer, look for groups, called coveys, around water sources such as ponds, small pools, or streams.
- Perdiz Chucar (Spanish)
- Perdrix choukar (French)
- Cool Facts
- The Chukar lives in dry country, so water is an important resource. It takes advantage of all types of water sources: rivers, ponds, springs, even seeps that barely moisten the ground. During the hot summer months, they seek out water, sometimes finding their way into mineshafts 10 feet below ground level just for a little drink.
- Chukars bathe with dust on an almost daily basis to keep their feathers in tiptop shape. They make shallow depressions in the ground and toss and scratch dust over their bodies.
- The Chukar is the national bird of Pakistan and Iraq.