A Chukar in Ladakh

I decided to take a break from the pics from my Arunachal trip on a flight last week and went back to my trip last July to Ladakh. And I realised, as I was browsing through the pics that I never really did justice to the pics from that trip. Many of them were lying unopened and unprocessed and I was appalled. I am getting sloppy.

So here goes one from a completely different setting from the forests of Arunachal. This one was shot on the drive between Leh and Khardung La, probably a bit short of the South Pullu Army check-post. Early morning, superb light and a lovely specimen of the Chukar Partridge.

Three interesting bits of info I came across as I was reading through the literature on this bird. One, that the name Chukar is onomatopoeic and mentions of chakor in Sanskrit date back to some puranas. Two, that the bird, in Indian and Pakistani culture symbolises intense, often unrequited love and the bird is thought to be in love with the moon and gazes at it constantly. Sample this translation of some Bengali song that I stumbled upon – “When I beheld thy face mournful, lady, I wandered restlessly o’er the world, Thy face is like the moon, and my heart like the chakor”. And three, that there is something called Wing Assisted Incline Running (WAIR) and there is a lot of research on the traction assist that some birds like Chukar get while climbing steep inclines by flapping their wings (as opposed to the natural lift that this action generates in birds).

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