chukar - Bird Watching in Pakistan

The Chukar (Alectoris chukar) is a Eurasian upland game bird in the pheasant family Phasianidae of the order Galliformes, gallinaceous birds. Its native range in Asia from Pakistan and Kashmir, India and Afghanistan. It is closely related and similar to its western equivalent, the Red-legged Partridge, Alectoris rufa. The Chukar is a rotund 32-35 cm long bird, with a light brown back, grey breast, and buff belly. The face is white with a black gorget. It has rufous-streaked flanks and red legs. When disturbed, it prefers to run rather than fly, but if necessary it flies a short distance on rounded wings. Chukar prefers rocky, steep, and open hillsides. The Chukar is a resident breeder in dry, open, and often hilly country. In the wild, Chukar travel in groups of 5-40 birds called coveys. It nests in a scantily lined ground scrape laying 8 to 20 eggs. Chukars will take a wide variety of seeds and some insects as food. When in captivity, they will lay 1 egg per day throughout the breeding season if the eggs are collected daily. For hunters, Chakur is a very challenging bird because of its surgical upward flights and sudden disappearances in the bushes.

1 - Bird Watching in Pakistan

Pakistan, due to its diverse weather and varied land is home to some of the rare and exclusive birds in the world. Its wetlands and lakes attract millions of migratory birds from across the globe, especially Siberia each year, which besides its own native birds in their natural habitat in the jungles and mountains, provide an excellent opportunity to the bird watchers around the world. Western Tragopan pheasant (Tragopan melanocephalus) is one of the rare species that exists in the northerly mountains and the Macharia National Park, where it is being bred and chances are that this beautiful bird will be able to be saved of its near extinction in Pakistan.

  • Ayubia National Park: This park provides refuge to the elusive leopard and the black bear along with excellent birding.
  • Chitral Gol National Park: The park is the home of the elusive snow leopard and some interesting birds.
  • Deosai National Park: Birds in the park include Golden eagle, Lammagier Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Laggar falcon, Peregrine Falcon, Kestrel, Indian Sparrow Hawk and Snow cock.
  • Drigh Lake: The lake is an important breeding and wintering area for a wide variety of water birds.

2 - Bird Watching in Pakistan

  • Haleji Lake: Asia’s greatest water fowl reserve, Haleji Lake is 70 km (about 52 miles) from Karachi. During winter, a hundred thousand birds fly down to Haleji from the cold of Siberia. It is a bird watchers’ paradise. Between Bhanbhore and Thatta, if you turn into the country lane by the 82km (51/1 mile-furlong stone) a 6-km long drive will bring you to the largest bird sanctuary of the country, Haleji Lake. During the winter, migratory birds come to this lake in very large numbers to the great delight of the bird watchers. You can drive along the 16 km. (10 miles) the track around the lake for photography or bird watching.
  • Hazar Ganji Chiltan National Park: In the folds of these mountains, many species of birds make their homes.
  • Hingol National Park: Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus)
  • Indus Dolphin Reserve and Kandhkot Wetland: The vast Indus Basin wetland include Common Teal (Anas crecca), Marbled Teal (Marmaronetta angustirostris), Great Egret (Casmerodius albus), Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus Crispus), Little Cormorant (Phalacrocorax niger), Pallas’s Fish-eagle (Haliaeetus leucoryphus), Greater Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga), Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca), Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa), Spotted Redshank (Tringa erythropus), Little Stint (Calidris minuta), Small Pratincole (Glareola lactea), River Tern (Sterna aurantia), Indian Skimmer (Rynchops albicollis), Pale-backed Pigeon (Columba eversmanni).

3 - Bird Watching in Pakistan

  • Kinjhar (Kalri) Lake: The largest freshwater lake in Pakistan with extensive reedbeds.
  • Kirthar National Park: The park is home to some rare species of mammals as well as a great variety of birds.
  • Keti Bundar North Wildlife Sanctuary: Marbled Teal (Marmaronetta angustirostris), Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus Crispus), Greater Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga), Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca), Indian Skimmer (Rynchops albicollis)
  • Khabbaki Lake: The lake is important as a staging and wintering area for a wide variety of water birds.
  • Kheshki Reservoir: A small storage reservoir, originally created to supply local villages with water, now popular with birds.
  • Khunjerab National Park: Watch for birds as the hills move back from the road, the valley opens out and the river dwindles to a tiny mountain stream with the odd tuft of grass, willow or birch along its banks
  • Kandar Dam: A tiny water storage reservoir (at maximum capacity its area is only 47ha) set in stony hills to the west of the Indus river.

4 - Bird Watching in Pakistan

  • Lal Suhanra National Park: The park is actually a wildlife sanctuary and features watch towers and tourist huts. Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata), Pallas’s Fish-eagle (Haliaeetus leucoryphus), Greater Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga) and Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca) are some of the birds that can be seen here.
  • Machiara National Park: Located in the Azad Kashmir, this park is of special significance since there are rare breeds of pheasants, especially the Western Tragopan pheasant (Tragopan melanocephalus) is bred and efforts are at hand to save this beautiful bird from extinction.
  • Malugul Dhand: A shallow, brackish lake formed by seasonal flooding of a “dead arm” of the Kurram River.
  • Mangla Lake: Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), Common Teal (Anas crecca), Marbled Teal (Marmaronetta angustirostris), Common Pochard (Aythya ferina) and Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) are some of the birds that flock the vast blue waters of Mangla Dam Lake.
  • Marala Game Reserve: Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) and Common Teal (Anas crecca) can be seen here.
  • Margalla Hills National Park: Park provides an excellent opportunity for bird watching.
  • Naran Reserve Forest to Saif-ul-Maluk Lake: The clear blue water of the lake, surrounded by snoa covered “Malka Parbat” mountain attracts White-cheeked Tit (Aegithalos leucogenys), Brooks’s Leaf-warbler (Phylloscopus subviridis), Spectacled Finch (Callacanthis burtoni) and Orange Bullfinch (Pyrrhula aurantiaca) each year. Nothing could be more awe-inspiring than watching birds at 12,000 feet.

5 - Bird Watching in Pakistan

  • Palas Valley: The temperate forest in this high valley supports around 325 pairs of the very rare and beautiful Western Tragopan, along with a number of other west Himalayan specialities.
  • Rann of Kutch Wildlife Sanctuary: The endless marshes of Rann of Kutch on the border of India and Sind Province of Pakistan are home to Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea), Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna), Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope), Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata), Northern Pintail (Anas acuta), Common Teal (Anas crecca), Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus), Indian Vulture (Gyps indicus), Sarus Crane (Grus antigone), Common Crane (Grus grus), Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta), Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus), Little Stint (Calidris minuta) and Ruff (Philomachus pugnax).
  • Rasool Barrage Wildlife Sanctuary: Northern Pintail (Anas acuta), Common Teal (Anas crecca), Common Pochard (Aythya ferina) and Common Coot (Fulica atra) can be watched from the sanctuary, besides resting on the bank of River Chenab and watching the Rasool Barrage.

6 - Bird Watching in Pakistan

  • Tanda Dam: The site is of national importance as a wintering and staging area for a wide variety of water birds.
  • Thanedar Wala: Most of the area consists of a complex of braided river channels and sandy or muddy islands.
  • Ucchali Wetland Complex: Located in the Salt Ranges, the Ucchali Wetland is home to a number of migratory birds like Marbled Teal (Marmaronetta angustirostris), White-headed Duck (Oxyura leucocephala), Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia), Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus), Pallas’s Fish-eagle (Haliaeetus leucoryphus), White-rumped Vulture (Gyps bengalensis), Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca) and Common Coot (Fulica atra).
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