Chukar at Westgate Park (Fisherman's Bend, Melbourne)

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Subject: Chukar at Westgate Park (Fisherman's Bend, Melbourne)
From: "Dr Richard Nowotny" <>
Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2006 00:43:39 +1100

Late this afternoon (Thurs 16 Feb) at Westgate Park, a small rehabilitated wetland alongside the eastern (city) ramp of the Westgate Bridge in Fisherman’s Bend, I had an entirely unexpected close encounter with a Chukar Partridge (Alectoris chukar) [or possibly the closely related and very difficult to separate Rock Partridge (A. graeca)].

This well-known game bird which has been introduced to many locations worldwide (including New Zealand) originates from a broad geographic area across southern Asia (or in the case of Rock Partridge from eastern France, Italy, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Greece).  [Ref: HBW, Vol. 2]

HANZAB Vol. 2 notes that Chukar, while found widely in the south island of NZ, is “not established” in Australia, despite a number of releases in the 19th century, and this species is not on the official Australian list.

An apparently healthy single bird was seen on the top of the highest point at Westgate Park, a small hill in the north-west corner of the park, close to the Herald and Weekly Times building and over the road from part of the General Motors Holden complex. It was surprisingly confiding, coming to within about 5 metres before being flushed by a pair of dogs which initially caused it to run and then to fly across the road, ending in a long glide into the fenced GMH property where I lost sight of it and was unable subsequently to find it again.

Presumably this is an escaped or released bird.

Does anyone have any suggestions/comments re any of the following:

  1. Is this an important sighting?
  2. Should it be formally reported? (Martin?)
  3. What might its origins be?
  4. Is it worth enquiring of any aviculturists or similar re possible escape/release?



Port Melbourne, Victoria

M: 0438 224456


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