The chukar (Alectoris chukar) is a colorful bird in the pheasant family that happens to be larger than quail, about 14 inches long, weighing a little over a pound. It’s not native to Red Rock Canyon but was introduced into Nevada in 1935 as a game-hunting species.
You can find chukar munching on seeds of grasses and forbs, such as Indian ricegrass and piñon pine, but their all-time favorite is downy brome, or cheatgrass, an invasive weed.
They spend most of their day gathered in coveys – eating, drinking, dusting and roosting. Trees and shrubs like junipers, sagebrush, and saltbrush provide cover, as do rocky outcrops. This allows them to hide from avian predators such as owls, hawks and eagles.