Breeding Potential of Pakistan’s National Bird Chukar Partridge: Captivity vs Natural Habitat
Keywords:Breeding potential, Captivity, Chukar, Clutch size, Egg laying, Natural habitat.
Background: Chukar partridge (Alectoris chukar), the national bird of Pakistan, is present in the Himalayan ranges of Balochistan, the hillside of Punjab and Sindh provinces.
Objective: The aim of this study was to compare the aspects of breeding biology of Chukar partridge (Alectoris chukar) viz nest structure, breeding season, clutch size, hatching success, and incubation period in natural habitat and captivity.
Methodology: As study areas, Chinji National Park (for natural habitat) and a private farm (for captive conditions) were selected for this purpose. During breeding season, field observations were taken to record the data.
Results: The breeding season of Chukar partridge extends from mid-February to the end of May in natural habitat while in captive conditions, it extends from February to September. In the natural habitat, all of its nests were located on ground and were formed with rocks, stones and straws of dry vegetation. In captivity, eggs were laid on ground in pens especially made according to the comfort of the birds as in natural conditions. Egg laying period for birds is extended in captivity (from mid of March till September) compared to natural habitat (from mid of March to the start of April). The clutch size of Chukar partridge was observed to be greater in captivity (12.4 ±1.932) than in the natural habitat (9.33 ±1.59). However, mean incubation period was the same for both in natural conditions and captivity i.e., 20.5 ±0.70 days (range 18-23 days). The hatching rate of eggs per clutch was greater in captivity (10.7 ±1.70) compared to natural habitat (7.3 ±1.88).
Conclusion: In conclusion, Chukar partridge has a greater breeding potential in captive conditions compared to natural environment, which supports its healthy population.