The Chukar: National Bird of Pakistan – AZ Animals


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Pakistan is a country in southern Asia with a coastline along the Arabian Sea. Northeast Pakistan is mountainous including the second tallest mountain in the world, K2. There are also portions of the country covered in dry deserts. With varied habitats there are a variety of bird species found throughout the country. There are colorful peacocks, impressive peregrine falcons and tiny hummingbirds, but the people of Pakistan chose a different bird to represent their great nation. Read on to find out all about the national bird of Pakistan.
The national bird of Pakistan is the chukar. A chukar is a pheasant-like game bird with black and white striped markings on its wings. Their heads have a bright red beak and red ring around its eye. A black stripe runs across their face down to their chest. Chukars can fly but typically run to get around and are quite agile, able to hop around on rocky terrain with ease. It is sometimes called a chukar partridge belonging to the partridge family. In Pakistan these birds symbolize love and are often depicted staring at the moon
The chukar is a symbol of love and is sometimes depicted as staring at the moon as a sign of its love for the moon. Chakura was a mythological partridge/crow in Hindu mythology that was thought to live in the moonbeams and was a symbol of good luck. They are also clever birds that are nicknamed “devil birds” by hunters because they are so quick and difficult to shoot.
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Chukars live in Pakistan in the northwestern provinces. They prefer the mountainous areas with patches of shrubland and grassland. Their range spreads east to China and west to Turkey and Greece. Chukars are in the United States, specifically in the Western states along the Rocky Mountains up into Canada.
No. The flag of Pakistan is dark green with a white crescent and star. Near the hoist side of the flag is a broad vertical white stripe. The green represents the Muslims which are the majority in the country and the white stripe represents the minority religions. The crescent, or moon, represents progress and the star stands for light and knowledge.
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No. The money in Pakistan is the rupee and while the chukar is not a feature on the money the national animal of Pakistan is. Special banknotes were printed to commemorate the 50th and 75th Anniversary of Pakistan’s Independence. The 75th Anniversary celebration in 2022 features the rupee with the Markhor (the national animal) and a deodar tree (the national tree).
A markhor is a wild goat with fascinating spiral horns. One look at one and you will understand why they are also the screw-horn goat or screw horn. The males have long shaggy hair on the front of their bodies. The Persian translation of markhor is “snake eater” but the name may come from their ability to kill snakes versus eating them.
Markhors live in the Himilayan Mountains and are quite agile when it comes to climbing the rough terrain in the mountains. The prefer scrub forests and live in small groups. The males do use their large horns to fight each other during the mating season, ramming their horns together as a proof of dominance. Compared to deer that shed their antlers every year, markhor do not shed their horns.
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The national fish of Pakistan is the mahseer. The golden mahseer is a freshwater fish that has a golden shimmer and large scales. They are a torpedo shape and can get to be 9 feet long and weigh more than 100 pounds, however most are quite a bit smaller. Unfortunately the golden mahseer is endangered and conservation efforts are working to protect these beautiful fish.
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Other animals living in Pakistan include ibexes. Similar to markhors, but an inbex’s horns curve backward and are not twisted. Pangolins are scaly mammals that look a bit like armadillos. They can curl up in a ball for protection! Like anteaters they have a long sticky tongue they use to slurp up ants and termites.
The Margalla Hills National Park, near Islamabad, is a good place for wildlife viewing where you might see eagles, vultures, falcons, red foxes, barking deer and occasionally leopards (although they are a rare sight).
Pakistan does have some dangerous snakes in the country with the “Big 4” being the most concerning. They are the Indian cobra, common krait, Russell’s viper and saw-scaled viper. They are all highly venomous and can be deadly if not treated with antivenom quickly.
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There are animals that live on K2. Some even live above the tree line like the red panda, snow leopard and Tibetan yak. Other animals that live on the harsh K2 are pikas, marmots and bears (black and brown bears). K2 has an elevation of 28,251 feet and is the second highest mountain in the world after Mount Everest. The air eventually gets too thin to support animal life as you get closer to the top of K2 so there are not any animals that live at the top.
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Chukars live between 4,000 and 13,000 feet. They are quite adaptable to the rocky terrains of the mountains but may spend the winters at lower altitudes. Some hunters prefer hunting for chukar in the winter because it is much easier to spot the red-legged birds.
Is the Beloved Chukar an Endangered Animal in Pakistan?
No. Luckily there are plenty of chukars in Pakistan. They a species of “least concern” on the IUCN list. If coming across one is good luck, it is good news that they are plentiful in the country!
What is the national bird of Pakistan?
The national bird of Pakistan is the chukar. A chukar is a pheasant-like game bird with black and white striped markings on its wings. Their heads have a bright red beak and red ring around its eye. A black stripe runs across their face down to their chest.
Are any national animals on Pakistan money?
The 75th Anniversary celebration in 2022 features the rupee with the Markhor (the national animal) and a deodar tree (the national tree).
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.
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