Chukar Partridge (Alectoris chukar)
Date Published: March 2011
The chukar partridge (Alectoris chukar) is native to the mountainous
regions of Asia, Western Europe and the Middle East. Its natural range includes
Turkey, the Mediterranean islands, Iran and east through Russia and China and
south into Pakistan and Nepal. It is native and widespread in the western
Himalayas of India where it is found to an altitude of 5000m. Chukar partridges
have been introduced widely for game hunters and have become established in the
U.S.A., Canada, England, New Zealand and Hawaii.
In agricultural areas chukar partridges utilize the grains of barley, oats,
wheat and corn; the seeds of sweet clover (Melilotus sp.) and bluegrass;
and the green shoots of alfalfa / lucerne (Medicago sativa). Chukar
partridges have also been known to cause damage to agricultural crops such as
apples and potatoes.
Introduced populations of chukar partridge are threatening native
populations of red-legged partridge (Alectoris rufa) and rock partridge (Alectoris
graeca) through hybridisation. Genetic data indicate that hybridisation
with chukar partridges is widespread across the entire natural and introduced
distribution range of the red-legged partridge and the rock partridge.
The natural distribution of chukar partridges includes areas similar in
climate to Tasmania. Chukar partridges are very adaptable and there is
therefore potential for this species to establish in Tasmania. If the chukar
partridge established in Tasmania it is likely to compete with the brown quail (Coturnix
ypsilophora) and the stubble quail (Coturnix pectoralis) for food
and other resources. The establishment of the chukar partridge in Tasmania has
the potential for high impact on agricultural industries as the species is
known to be capable of damaging various commodities such as cereal grains,
oilseeds, grain legumes, fruit and vegetables.
Chukar Partridge (Alectoris chukar) (525Kb)