South Dakota
Birds and Birding
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Chukar

Alectoris chukar

Length: 14 inches Wingspan: 22 inches Seasonality: All Seasons
ID Keys: Reddish bill and eye-ring, buff-colored face and throat, prominent black band around face and throat

Chukar - Alectoris chukarThe Chukar is a native of the Middle East and southern Asia, but has been widely introduced throughout much of the western United States.  Multiple attempts to introduce the Chukar to South Dakota were made, but were apparently unsuccessful, although individuals (possibly escaped) are found from time to time.  They have benefited from the introduction of Eurasian plant species on which they feed in their native lands.

Habitat: Seems to prefer sloped areas with sufficient vegetative cover, such as brushy mountain slopes and canyon sides.  Also can be found in expansive cheatgrass areas with scattered sagebrush.

Diet: Will eat a variety of seeds, leaves, grasses, berries, and insects.  A large portion of the diet may be, ironically, from introduced Eurasian species such as cheatgrass and its seeds.

Behavior: Primarily forages on the ground, but will also move up into trees and shrubs in pursuit of berries and insects.

Breeding: Probable non-breeder in South Dakota.

Song: Series of whiny clucks ending in chuKAR chuKAR

Migration: Generally a permanent resident throughout its North American range.

Similar Species: Gray Partridge

Conservation Status: Has become well established in parts of the west.  Introductions in the state evidently have failed.  Individual birds seen in the state are likely escapees from captivity.

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Chukar

2) Cornell University's "All About Birds - Chukar"

3) eNature.com: Chukar

Photo Information: October 7th, 2006 - Minnehaha County - Terry Sohl

Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or text links below for additional, higher-resolution Chukar photos.

 

Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Chukar - Alectoris chukar - Range Map
South Dakota Status: There have been multiple attempts to introduce Chukars in South Dakota.  Introductions have evidently been unsuccessful.  Chukars are sighted from time to time, but are likely escapees from captivity rather than wild-born birds.