Search Field Guide
Advanced Search
Montana Animal Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Chukar - Alectoris chukar

Exotic Species (not native to Montana)

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNA

Agency Status


External Links

Listen to an Audio Sample

Copyright by: The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, all rights reserved.
General Description
Sexes are identical in appearance, with white cheeks and throat separated from the breast by a necklace of black. Adults are grayish brown to olive above, grading to gray on the chest. The sides are buff, with conspicuous black and chestnut vertical stripes, and the belly is buff. The outer tail feathers are reddish-brown. The bill, feet, and legs are red. Adult males and females range from 13 to 15 inches in length; adult males average 19.6 ounces in weight, and adult females, 15.7 ounces.

For a comprehensive review of the conservation status, habitat use, and ecology of this and other Montana bird species, please see Marks et al. 2016, Birds of Montana.

Diagnostic Characteristics
Gray (Hungarian) Partridges are somewhat smaller than Chukars, and have grayish-brown bodies with cinnamon-colored heads.

Species Range
Montana Range

Click the legend blocks above to view individual ranges.

Western Hemisphere Range


Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations: 76

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density


(direct evidence "B")

(indirect evidence "b")

No evidence of Breeding
(transient "t")

(regular observations "W")

(at least one obs. "w")


(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Habitat consists of steep, rocky, semi-arid country with an abundance of cheatgrass and brushy draws. In western Montana they used brushy areas all year; were near springs late in summer; and grain fields in winter. Semi-arid lands with shrubby cover near steep, rocky hills is used (Davis 1961). They are most successful in sagebrush-juniper or sagebrush-bitterbrush with cheatgrass and bunchgrasses (Mussehl 1971).

Food Habits
In western Montana they prefer green grass leaves, cheatgrass seeds and grains. In early spring the diet is green grass and forb leaves; in summer it is seeds and insects; in late summer and fall it is chokecherries; and in winter waste grain, seeds, and grass and forb leaves are eaten (Mussehl 1971).

Reproductive Characteristics
In western Montana broods average 8.1 young and the average hatching date is June 29. In Washington nesting begins in early April, and hatching begins in late May and June (Johnsgard 1986). Nesting chronology may be much the same in Montana.

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Marks, J.S., P. Hendricks, and D. Casey. 2016. Birds of Montana. Arrington, VA. Buteo Books. 659 pages.
    • Mussehl, T.W. and F.W. Howell (eds.). 1971. Game management in Montana. Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Helena, Mont. 238 pp.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Alcorn, J.R., and F. Richardson. 1951. The Chukar Partridge in Nevada. J. Wildl. Manage. 15:265-275.
    • American Ornithologists’ Union [AOU]. 1998. Check-list of North American birds, 7th edition. American Ornithologists’ Union, Washington, D.C. 829 p.
    • Ames, Vince, 2001, Letter dated August 25, 2001, from Vince Ames (Landowner), to Larry Urban, Wetlands Mitigation Coordinator, Montana Dept. of Transportation. In Vince Ames (Wetland Mitigation Site) WS#13, West Yellowstone, Carbon Co. Fin.Dist.5 Admin.Dist.5.
    • Anonymous. 1959. Chukar partridge. Montana Wildlife. November.
    • Bergeson, W. R. 1951. The chukar in Montana how it is faring. Sporting Montana. 1(2):15.
    • Bergeson, W. R. 1952. Survival of chukar partridge releases. Montana Fish and Game Department. P-R Quarterly Report. April-June: 104-113.
    • Christensen, G. C. 1996. Chukar (Alectoris chukar). In The birds of North America, No. 258 (A. Poole and F. Gill, Eds.). Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia and American Ornithologists’ Union.
    • Confluence Consulting Inc. 2012. Montana Department of Transportation Wetland Mitigation Monitoring Reports (various sites). MDT Helena, MT.
    • Ehrlich, P., D. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1988. The birder’s handbook: a field guide to the natural history of North American birds. Simon and Schuster Inc. New York. 785 pp.
    • Johnsgard, P. A. 1988. The quails, partridges, and francolins of the world. Oxford Univ. Press, New York. 264 pp.
    • Johnsgard, P.A. 1992. Birds of the Rocky Mountains with particular reference to national parks in the northern Rocky Mountain region. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. xi + 504 pp.
    • Jonkel, G. M. 1954. A comparative study of survival of fall and spring released Chukar Partridges (Alectoris graeca chukar). M.S. thesis, Montana State University, Missoula.
    • Lenard, S., J. Carlson, J. Ellis, C. Jones, and C. Tilly. 2003. P. D. Skaar’s Montana bird distribution, 6th edition. Montana Audubon, Helena, MT. 144 pp.
    • Molini, W. A., 1976, Chukar Partridge, Species Management Plan
    • Montana Bird Distribution Committee. 2012. P.D. Skaar's Montana bird distribution. 7th Edition. Montana Audubon, Helena, Montana. 208 pp. + foldout map.
    • Sandfort, W.W. 1965. Long range management plans for game species: Chukar partridge. Unpubl. rep., Colo. Dep. Game, Fish and Parks. Denver. 18 pp.
    • Sibley, D. 2014. The Sibley guide to birds. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY. 598 pp.
    • Skaar, P. D., D. L. Flath, and L. S. Thompson. 1985. Montana bird distribution. Montana Academy of Sciences Monograph 3(44): ii-69.
    • Skaar, P.D. 1969. Birds of the Bozeman latilong: a compilation of data concerning the birds which occur between 45 and 46 N. latitude and 111 and 112 W. longitude, with current lists for Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, impinging Montana counties and Yellowstone National Park. Bozeman, MT. 132 p.
    • U.S. Forest Service. 1991. Forest and rangeland birds of the United States: Natural history and habitat use. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service Agricultural Handbook 688. 625 pages.
    • Whitney, C. 1971. Chukar partridge. pp. 175-179 in T.W. Mussehl and F.W. Howell (eds.), Game Management in Montana. Montana Department of Fish and Game, Helena. 238 pp.
  • Web Search Engines for Articles on "Chukar"
Login Logout
Citation for data on this website:
Chukar — Alectoris chukar.  Montana Field Guide.  Montana Natural Heritage Program and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.  Retrieved on September 28, 2016, from