The stamp was issued on World Wetland Day

The chukar, or chukor, is named onomatopoetically after its distinctive ‘chukar-chukar’ crow. A species of partridge, chukars are found primarily in the high country of the South Island. The current population is presumed to be a hybrid of two forms imported from different parts of Asia in the early to mid-20th century. Despite efforts by Fish and Game New Zealand and other groups to boost the population, numbers appear to be in decline.

The chukar has a medium-sized, round body, with a bright red bill and reddish-pink legs. Its plumage is made up of grey, black, white and chestnut feathers, with a distinctive black band that runs across the forehead and eyes and down the side of the neck, joining at the breast.

Chukars inhabit dry hill country, open shrubland and tussock lands with rock outcrops east of the Southern Alps, up to 2,000 metres above sea level. The largest populations are found in the Nelson Lakes National Park, Seaward Kaikōura Range, Mackenzie country and the ranges of Central Otago.

The average clutch of eggs is eight, incubated by the female only. Young are cared for in family groups, accompanied by several adults. They have been known to form coveys of up to 150 individuals.

Date of Issue: 2nd February 2019

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