Scientific Journal of the BirdLife Hungary

A Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület tudományos folyóirata

Ornis Hungarica. vol.29(2). (2021) p.59-70.

opulation density, habitat preference, and breeding biology of Chukar Partridge (Alectoris chukar) in Malakand division, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan
Atta Ullah & Khurshaid Khan

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The field biology of Chukar Partridge (Alectoris chukar) was studied in Malakand division, which is an important range of its distribution in Pakistan. The abundance of the species at different altitudes was studied using both transect trails of various lengths and point counts at certain spots. The average monthly population density was estimated to be 1.448±0.466 birds/ha. The population density in August, September, and October 2020 was significantly (P<0.05) higher, as compared to the rest of the months. Chukar Partridge sightings were the lowest in December, with mean±SD = 0.996±0.147 birds/ha and the highest in October 2.333±0.202 birds/hae in all the study sites. At each study site, maximum activity habitats were marked and selected for breeding ecology study. Data was collected on breeding time, nest site selection, nest size, incubation period, and hatching success. The breeding season in this species starts in February, with the peak months being March and April, when calls are frequently heard. The frequency of calls varied from 0.15 to 0.3 per minute. Throughout the breeding season, twelve nests were observed using binoculars and camera traps from a distance to avoid disturbance, wherever possible and without disrupting the species. Nesting sites were mostly on slopes under the eaves of Dodonea viscosa, Calotropis procera and Zizyphus oxyphylla. Dry leaves of Poa annua, Cynodon dactylon, Dichanthium annulatum, small twigs of bushes, and downy feathers were used as nesting materials. The average diameter of nest (n=12) was 25.43±3.4 (mean±SD) cm. Overall, the mean clutch size was 94.5±30.187 egg/nest with an incubation period of 22–24 days. The hatching success rate was 82% with 315 successfully hatched chicks, while the fledging rate was 83% (265 fledged out of 315 hatched in, n=42 nests).