The chukar partridge is an introduced species found in the dry, rimrock country of eastern Oregon. Oregon stocks originated from India and the first successful releases began in 1951. Over several decades, chukars were released into all suitable areas east of the Cascades.
Features: Chukars are brown-gray with a black stripe running across the head, through the eye, and down onto the chest. Their bills and feet are red, and their sides have white and black barring.
Habitat: Extensive areas in eastern Oregon provide ideal habitat for chukars. Cheatgrass, an introduced plant species, was already well established through much of eastern Oregon prior to the 1950s, and provides one of the most important year-around food resources for the chukar. Their habitat is generally steep, rocky, dry, and largely unsuitable for development, agriculture or other commercial uses except grazing. Important chukar areas in Oregon include the lower Deschutes and John Day Rivers, the Snake River and several of its tributaries, Malheur and Owyhee River drainages, and mountain ranges including Steens, Hart and Trout Creek mountains.
Technique: Chukars are among Oregon's most challenging birds to hunt. Good boots, a water bottle and sufficient food and shells to stay afield all day are necessary. Binoculars are also helpful. Chukars have the disconcerting habit of running uphill, usually faster than a hunter can follow, and they fly downhill at high speed. Hunters soon learn that the best way to get within range is to approach from above or on a contour.