Chukars are not native to Arizona but the middle east with those birds found in Arizona most likely originating in India. Chukars are very distinctive birds. Their black-barred flanks, purplish blue backs and breasts, coral beaks and feet, and black line passing through the eye and encircling the white throat make them easily recognizable. Adults are approximately 10-12 inches tall with males weighing from 19 to 26 ounces while adult females weigh between 16 to 19 ounces.
From the late 1930s through the early 1970s an effort was made to establish chukars in Arizona. Thousands of chukars were released throughout Arizona at no fewer than 37 different release sites. Almost all of these transplant efforts failed. Today the majority of Arizona’s wild chukars are found in and along the canyons in the far northwest portion of the state north of the Colorado River, the only notable exception being those found in Cataract Canyon west of Tusuyan. Chukars pair up in late March and begin egg laying and incubation from late March through mid April. The average clutch is between 8 to 15 eggs which hatch between late May and early June. Chukars rely heavily on cheatgrass as a major food source and are not found far from this grass.
Hunting and Trapping History
In spite of a five month season and a five bird bag limit few people hunt chukars in Arizona. This is due to the remote portion of the state in which they live as well as the steep, rough canyon country where they are found.