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

Subject: Re: Chukar at Westgate Park (Fisherman's Bend, Melbourne)
Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2006 10:27:50 +1100

A few comments for Richard on his Chukar sighting in Melbourne of 16 February 2006.  I've just discussed the sighting with my Game Management Section colleagues here and have some information as follows.

1. Is this an important sighting?
Under the Wildlife Act 1975 Chukar (and certain other game birds) are declared as 'wildlife' and 'game'.  This gives them the same protection as other Victorian wildlife but also means as 'game' they can be shot during the quail hunting season.

The observation is certainly interesting but I personally wouldn't classify the sighting as 'important' (but see below).

2. Should it be formally reported?
Definitely.  Any introduced birds that have the potential to establish wild populations should always be reported when observed.  The Atlas of Victorian Wildlife currently has records of Chukar Partridge from  near Portland and Lakes Entrance.  There are no other reported localities for the species in Victoria.  This would be the first formal Melbourne area report.

3. What might its origins be?
These birds are widely available from breeders, markets etc.  The sighting is probably just a captive escapee.

4. Is it worth enquiring of any aviculturists etc?
Chukar are kept as pets and bred and sold in the gamebird meat market and also released for hunting on gamebird farms.  I'll leave it to Richard to decide whether to follow the sighting up with aviculturists etc.

cheers, Martin

Martin O'Brien
Threatened Species & Communities Section
Department of Sustainability and Environment
2/8 Nicholson St. (PO Box 500), East Melbourne  3002

Tel: 9637 9869

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