Sunday, October 3, 2010

Chukar

We visited the Haleakala National Park on the Island of Maui and hiked down the celebrated "Sliding Sands Trail." When we started the hike we were in a cloud (as parts of the National Park is as high as 10,000 feet above sea level) and had very little visibility. But as we hiked to a lower altitude we emerged beneath the cloud cover and enough sunlight passed through the cloud to give us a glimpse of the beautiful landscape, which gave us a feeling of being on the moon or some unearthly planet (Below).

A view from the "Sliding Sands Trail", Haleakala National Park on Maui, Hawaii; 7/14/08.
 While on this trail we were hoping to see the rare Hawaiian Goose, the Nene, but instead several times we ran a cross a chicken-like bird called a Chukar (Below). I have never heard of a Chukar before this. The Chukar was introduced to the U.S. (and Hawaii) from the Middle East for sport hunting, but never really established any kind of large flocks. When they are seen, they are usually found on arid rocky slopes, which is a perfect description of the terrain surrounding the "Sliding Sands Trail. "
A Chukar on the sliding Sands Trail of Haleakala National Park, Maui; 7/14/08.

Chukars are chunky and medium sized birds (like chickens) that have a pale grayish brown body with very bold black bars on its flanks. It has a black band across its eyes that extends down behind its cheeks and across its throat, which gives it the impression of being a bandit. It has a red beak and a red eye ring sets its eyes off from the black mask.


Another pair of Chukars in Haleakala Nat. Park, Maui, Hawaii; 7/14/08.


2 comments:

tammymcchesney said...

That must have been some hike...what a beautiful scenery you had, and of course, what a beautiful bird you ran in to!

kushibo said...

I ran across your site when searching for this bird, via a Google image search for red+beak+haleakala.

I thought maybe what we saw out there on the Shifting Sands Trail was a young nene, but it turns out to be a chukar, which I also had never heard of.

Interesting nonetheless, although we had hoped to see a nene on our trip to Maui. We did see one last year on the Big Island (we live in Honolulu, so the other islands are our form of "staycation").