iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Evidence of Alectoris chukar (Aves, Galliformes) as seed dispersal and germinating agent for Pistacia khinjuk in Balochistan, Pakistan

Muhammad Essa (1-2)   , Ziauddin Ziauddin (1), Muhammad Ali Khan (1), Muhammad Imran (2), Ahmed Essote Saeed (3)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 14, Issue 4, Pages 378-382 (2021)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor3691-014
Published: Aug 22, 2021 - Copyright © 2021 SISEF

Short Communications

Seed dispersal is a key process for the distribution of wild fruit plants in forests and/or rangeland. The ecological role of Alectoris chukar as a seed dispersal agent was hardly known to date, though its diet consists of herbs, shrubs, and fleshy fruits of wild plants. Here we report the first evidence of seed dispersal and germination of wild pistachio plant (Pistacia khinjuk Stocks) favored by Alectoris chukar from the district Killa Saifullah and Pishin in Balochistan, Pakistan. Fecal droppings of Alectoris chukar were collected by a suitable sampling method from August to September 2020. Fecal droppings were kept in plastic bags, and later washed thoroughly, identified, and counted for Pistacia khinjuk seeds, which have a characteristic rounded and tough seed coat easily distinguishable from other seeds. Out of a total of 840 fecal samples collected, 557 were identified as Pistacia khinjuk seeds. A comparative germination trial was carried out for pistachio seeds both from Alectoris chukar fecal droppings and manually collected from mother trees in the forest. After passing through the chukar gut, the seeds were still viable and showed a faster germination rate as compared with seeds collected from mother trees and directly sown in the soil. The results revealed that Alectoris chukar is an important spreading and germinating agent for seeds of pistachio plants in suitable habitats and could contribute in the long term to modify the ground vegetation of (sub)arid regions depending on its dietary preferences.


Alectoris chukar, Balochistan, Fecal Dropping, Pistacia khinjuk, Seed Dispersal, Seed Germination

Authors’ address

Muhammad Essa 0000-0003-2775-8260
Ziauddin Ziauddin 0000-0001-6380-0580
Muhammad Ali Khan 0000-0001-6756-4298
Center for Advanced Studies in Vaccinology and Biotechnology (CASVAB) University of Balochistan, Quetta (Pakistan)
Muhammad Essa 0000-0003-2775-8260
Muhammad Imran 0000-0002-7800-7267
Forest & Wildlife Department, Government of Balochistan, Quetta (Pakistan)
Ahmed Essote Saeed
Zoology Department, University of Balochistan, Quetta (Pakistan)

Corresponding author

Muhammad Essa


Essa M, Ziauddin Z, Khan MA, Imran M, Saeed AE (2021). Evidence of Alectoris chukar (Aves, Galliformes) as seed dispersal and germinating agent for Pistacia khinjuk in Balochistan, Pakistan. iForest 14: 378-382. - doi: 10.3832/ifor3691-014

Academic Editor

Mirko Di Febbraro

Paper history

Received: Nov 06, 2020
Accepted: Jun 24, 2021

First online: Aug 22, 2021
Publication Date: Aug 31, 2021
Publication Time: 1.97 months

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