Scientific Journal of the BirdLife Hungary

A Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület tudományos folyóirata

Ornis Hungarica. vol.30(1). (2022) p.80-96.

The current status of Chukar (Alectoris chukar J. E. Gray, 1830) in Armenia
Karen Aghababyan, Nicholas J. Aebischer & Sevak Baloyan

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The Chukar Alectoris chukar is one of the most popular game birds of Armenia, but there is no governmental monitoring programme for that exploited species. We carried out national surveys in 2003–2019 and estimate the current occupied range of the Chukar in Armenia as 5,082 km2 (17% of the country). In 2019, we estimate Chukar population size at 12,472 breeding pairs (95% CL: 10,266–14,677). Its population trend shows a moderate decline underlying strong annual fluctuations. In Armenia, the Chukar occurs on 20 public hunting lands covering 2,414 km2 in total. Its abundance on these public hunting lands is estimated to 5,558 breeding pairs in 2019 (95% CL: 3,656–7,460). Surveys of the seven Hunters’ Unions of Armenia found that there are 10,000 to 20,000 active hunters. The number of hunting permits issued annually increased ten-fold between 2016 and 2019, exceeding the capacity of the public hunting lands in 2019. A hunter survey found that each Chukar hunter shot on average (± SD) 5.88±3.05 birds in the 2018/19 season, which extrapolates to 17,052–34,104 shot specimens of Chukar (at least 46% of autumn numbers). Current hunting management practice is thus unsustainable and we provide recommendations for sustainable approaches that should replace it urgently.