A late arrival to New Zealand the chukar (Alectoris chukar) was first introduced from India in 1926 and later into Marlborough from Iranian stock.
The two forms are now presumably well hybridised. As recently as 1987 chukar have been released in Fish & Game New Zealand’s Hawkes Bay region where they are still completely protected.
Primarily a South Island species, the chukar is at home on high, semi arid shale and rocky slopes, interspersed with areas of low tussock and scattered sub alpine vegetation. Found at altitudes of up to 2,000 metres on slopes east of the main divide, chukar populations extend from Marlborough to Otago.
Chukar pair up and begin nesting in September. Clutches are usually large with 10 to 18 eggs produced but despite this the chukar population is in decline.
In those districts where Chukar may still be hunted the season begins in May and continues until the end of August. Please make sure you check local regulations before attempting to hunt Chukar.
If you want more information on game bird hunting in your area, please select your local region above right. Here you can read all about local regulations and hunting spots and find contact details for your nearest Fish & Game office, who can offer very useful and specific local advice.
Alternatively, you can contact the Fish & Game New Zealand Council on (04) 499 4767.