One of Oregon’s most challenging birds to hunt due to the rocky, rugged habitat partridges prefer and their ability to run uphill (and fly downhill) very fast.

Chukars in a rock crevice

Types of Partridge

Chukar perched on rocks

Chukar partridge

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.

Gray Partridge

Hungarian/Gray partridge

Features: Hungarian partridge have a gray-brown body with reddish brown barring on their wings, back and tail. Their beak and legs are gray.

Habitat: In eastern Oregon, the best partridge populations exist in Columbia and Snake River basin counties. Although some birds may be found many miles from farming areas, the bunchgrass and sagebrush foothills adjacent to wheat and other farmlands provide the best habitat and the most stable populations. 

Technique: "Huns" are swift and challenging birds to hunt, usually bursting from the cover with a startling squeal and clatter of wings. They are typically hunted incidentally to pheasants or chukars.