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Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary, India

(Alectoris chukar)

IUCN status : Least Concern

The Chukar, also known as the “Chukar partridge,” is a small bird that lives across Eurasia. They can be easily distinguished by their red beaks and black masks. They are members of the Phasianidae family, along with pheasants, turkeys, quail, chickens, and peacocks.

Since Chukars live in very high altitudes, they take Dust Bath. Instead of bathing in water, Chukars use loose dust and sand to clean their feathers. They dig a small dip in the ground, lie in it, and use their wings to throw sand up over their backs. From there, they shuffle comically around to distribute the dust throughout their feathers. Once they are finished, they give a hefty shake to remove the dirt. Humans named the Chukar for its vocalizations.  These birds call to one another using soft “chucks” and louder “chukars”. This species is primarily herbivorous, though younger birds feed on insects while growing.

This species of birds has comparatively remained unaffected by harms caused by hunting and loss of habitat. One reason for this is that Chukars choose remote and physically demanding terrains. Weather patterns during the breeding season, however, have been responsible for affecting the population statistics of these birds. These are terrestrial birds that are more likely to run rather than fly from a perceived threat, but when they do take flight they often stay low to the ground and fly with a series of very rapid wing beats followed by a glide.

In Indian mythology, this bird is said to be in love with the moon and constantly gaze at it.

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