1370. Caccabis chucar.
Perdix chukar, Gray in Hardw. Ill, Ind. Zool. i, pl. 54 (1830-32). Chacura pugnax, Hodgs. Madras Jour. L. S. v, p. 305 (1837). Caccabis chukar, Blyth, Cat. p. 251 ; Adams, P. Z. S. 1858, p. 502; 1859, p. 185; Hume, S. F. i, p. 226; id. Cat. no. 820; Scully, S. F. viii, p. 348 ; Biddulph, Ibis, 1881, p. 93 ; Scully, ibid. p. 586 ; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 309; St. John, Ibis, 1889, p. 175; Ogilvie Grant, Cat. B. M. xxii, p. 113. Caccabis chukor, Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 564; Stoliczka, J. A. S. B. xxxvii, pt. 2, p. 69 ; Hume & Marsh. Game B. ii, p. 33; C. H. T. Marshall, Ibis, 1884, p. 423; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 431. Caccabis pallescens, Hume, Lah. to Yark. p. 283. Caccabis pallidus, Hume, t. c. p. 284.
Chukar, H.; Kabk, P.; Kau-kau, Kashmir; Chukru, Chamba.
Coloration. Upper parts varying from brownish olive to ashy, the upper back and scapulars, and sometimes the crown, tinged with vinous red; outer scapulars pure ashy with broad rufous edges ; sinciput and sides of crown always grey, supercilia buffy, ear-coverts dull chestnut; a black band across the forehead to each eye, continued behind the eye round the throat and forming a gorget ; extreme tip of chin and a spot at each side of gape black ; lores, sides of head, and throat white or pale buff; quills brown, all primaries except the first with the outer web buff near the tip, and a buffy patch on the outer edge of most secondaries near the end; middle tail-feathers drab like the rump, terminal half of outer tail-feathers chestnut; breast ashy tinged more or less with brown, and the sides with vinous; abdomen and lower tail-coverts light to dark buff; feathers of the flanks grey at the base, each with two black bars, buff between the bars, and chestnut at the ends.
Birds from the Himalayas are darker and browner, those from Ladak, the Western Punjab, Sind, and other dry open tracts are greyer and paler. The black gorget varies in breadth.
Bill and legs red ; irides brown, yellowish, or orange.
Length of male about 15 ; tail 4.25 ; wing 6.5 ; tarsus 1.8 ; bill from gape 1.1. Female rather smaller, length 14; wing 6.
Distribution. Throughout the greater part of Western and Central Asia from the Levant to China. This species occurs in the Himalayas as far east as Nepal throughout a great range of elevation; also in the hilly parts of the Punjab, and in the higher ranges of Sind west of the Indus. A closely-allied form, in fact only a race, C. saxatilis, distinguished by its black lores, inhabits the mountains of Southern Europe.
Habits, &c. The Chukor keeps, as a rule, to open hillsides, amongst scattered bushes or grass, but it is also found in better wooded country and in cultivated fields. These birds keep in coveys throughout the winter, and sometimes the coveys associate in flocks. They are noisy, and often utter the loud chuckling double note from which their name is taken. In spring they break up into pairs, and they breed from April to August, later at higher elevations than at lower, from 5000 or 6000 feet up to 12,000, and higher, even at 16,000 in Tibet. The nest, a few leaves and fibres or a little gra?s on the ground, contains from 7 to 14 eggs, generally 8 to 10 ; these are pale cafe-au-lait in colour, spotted and speckled with purplish pink or brown, and measure about 1.68 by 1.25.
Chukor, where they are abundant, afford fair shooting; but they are inferior for the table to partridges, in general being rather dry.