An unusual sighting of a Chukar Partridge

Last week our neighbour popped in unexpectedly. We hadn’t chatted to her for a while so she was most welcome. She has known for years that I was interested in birds and had really enjoyed an illustrated talk about birds I gave some months ago to the local Senior Citizens group, Interestingly she had a bird field guide in her hand, open to a page showing a photo of a Chukar Partridge.

Her simple question was: ‘Is this bird found around here?’ She had never seen one before and was struggling to understand why she never seen it. She had been taking her dogs for a walk up the hill from our place. This is on the edge of Murray Bridge in South Australia and she was walking along the road through the start of an adjacent farming area.

This species is native to large areas of Eurasia. It has been introduced into Australia and I presume as  game bird. In fact, some years ago some birds were released in the Gulgong area east of Dubbo in NSW. They never became established as a self-sustaining population. As there have been no sightings in recent years it is presumed they are extinct in that area.

So where did the bird seen by my neighbour originate? Interestingly, a year or so ago my cousin, who also lives here in Murray Bridge, sent me a photo of one in his garden.  I can find no reference to this species being kept as an aviary bird though I guess that is one possible explanation if one has escaped. Perhaps someone has kept a few as meat birds and one escaped. Being a member of the pheasant family I guess that they are good eating. It is a wonder it has survived as we have quite a few foxes prowling the area.

I have no answers to these perplexing questions.

You can read more about this species here.

 

One Response to “An unusual sighting of a Chukar Partridge”

  1. Graeme Arnott says:

    I believe I sighted a Chukar Partridge last week on the 18th of October 2017 in The Patch Victoria. This is a suburb within the Dandenong Ranges of Victoria and close to the Dandenong Ranges Park, in between Kallista and Monbulk. It was a warm day and I had the sprinkler on and came outside to turn it off. It was at approximately 5.30-6pm. The bird was standing on our front lawn near the tap and some nearby steps. Even though I approached to within a metre of it to turn off the tap it appeared relatively unconcerned. Both my wife and I spent some time watching it. I had never seen a bird like it and quickly took some photo’s. Unfortunately only two of the shots were relatively clear. But from these I can definitely identify it as a Chukar. The bird remained in the area of the tap which was dripping water for at least 15 minutes. It seemed to be after the water. We had to go out and it was gone when we returned. I tried to identify it online later and tried native birds, particularly doves and pigeons as this had been my first impression of it’s species. I even thought it may have been a quail. It wasn’t until I tried another site of introduced species that I happened to see it again. The striped wings and particularly the black band across the eyes and down the chest, plus the reddish beak were the most significant features.

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