13-15 1/2" (33-39 cm). Gray above, on breast, and on rump; lighter below; breast and wings tinted with rufous. Blackish brown eye stripe that curves around a whitish face to connect to a blackish chin stripe. Dark reddish, vertical stripes on flanks. Dark orange bill and eye ring; lighter orange legs.
Similar Species- Northern Bobwhite, Gray Partridge
Repeats its name in a series of chucks: chuck-chucka-chuck-chucka-chuck.
Native to Eurasia. Introduced and resident in North America from south-central British Columbia, northern Idaho, and central and eastern Montana, south to northern Baja California, southern Nevada, northern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico, and south-central Colorado.
Found on rocky hillsides, mountain slopes with grassy vegetation, open and flat deserts with sparse grasses, and barren plateaus.
Feeds primarily on seeds and leaves. Also eats some fruits and insects.
Builds concealed nest on ground, or in rocks or bush. Most foraging activity occurs in mid-morning, but may continue into afternoon. Frequently inactive and near water at mid-day in hot weather. In favorable habitat, population density can reach levels of 1 bird/4 hectares. In late summer, family groups may join and form larger groups. Males reportedly may leave female during incubation and spend summer with other males. Idaho study found greatest dispersion in spring; in summer birds restricted themselves to tree-shrub vegetation adjacent to water. A habitat-use study in north-central Idaho was initiated in 1994 by the Idaho Dept. Fish & Game.
Oelklaus, W.F. III. 1976. Chukar partridge dispersion along the middle and lower Snake and Columbia Rivers. M.S. Thesis, Univ. Idaho, Moscow. 56pp.