Soaring high with the Chukar Partridge


The Chukar partridge is the national bird of Iraq and is peculiarly symbolic when taken into the historical context of the country. During breeding season it is extremely aggressive and will fight to the death to protect the nest, much like the people of Iraq have done for centuries to protect their freedom from colonisers and invaders.

The name Chukar is derived from the Sanskrit chakor, meaning ‘bird that loves the moon’. It emerged as the national bird due to its high prevalence throughout Iraq. For me, it is a beautiful symbol of the desire of the Iraqi people to self-determination, and a refutation of the imperialist legacy and foreign involvement that continues today.

Plus, you know, it’s a pretty cool looking bird. National animals are often a bit kooky (after all, Australia is the only country in the world that eats the animals on its coat of arms). I’d have loved to be a fly on the wall in the meeting where this was decided that they were picking a small fluffy bird with eyes that burn like the pits of Lucifer as the national animal.


Bonus points if your national animal inflates itself to the size of a volleyball.

If you’d like some more info on the Chukar, check out this link here.

If you’d like some more info on the origins of the Chukar as the national emblem of Iraq, check out the World Atlas here.

For pictures of more animals puffed up to look like balls, I highly recommend this video.

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