Perdix perdix
(Gray Partridge)


Order: Galliformes
Order Description: Pheasant, Grouse, Turkey, Quail
Family: Phasianidae
Family Description: Pheasant, Grouse, Turkey, Quail

Physical Description:
12-14" (30-36 cm). A gray-brown bird with cinnamon face; cinnamon on sides of tail and chestnut diagonal streaks on flanksClick word for definition. Fine white streaks on back; brown inverted "U" belly patch on males. Gray feet and bill; dark eyes.

Similar Species- Chukar, Northern Bobwhite

Song:
A scratchy, low squeek.

Distribution:
Native to western Eurasia. Widely introduced in North America, and established locally from southern Canada to northern U.S. (from New York, west to Oregon).

Habitat:
Found primarily in cultivated regions with marginal cover of bushes, undergrowth, or hedgerows. In study conducted in Palouse region of Idaho, birds wintered mostly in plowed stubble fields.

Diet:
Feeds primarily on seeds of wheat, corn, barley, oats, smartweeds, lambs quraters, crabgrass, and others. Also eats leaves of clover, alfalfa, bluegrass, and dandelion. Chicks feed on insects for first few weeks of life. In winter, and spring diets; small grains (oats, barley, wheat, rye) are rarely consumed, though widely available. In one study, partridges ate more leafy vegetation when row crop grains were buried by snow, consumed predominately insects in early summer, and ate foxtail seeds in late summer and early fall.

Ecology:
Builds concealed nest in shallow depression in grass or shrubs; Idaho study found most nests were in areas of permanent cover. Forages on ground. In New York study, home range was 82-672 ha; size did not differ by season.

Reproduction:
Breeding begins late May to early June. Female lays 8-23 eggs in 1 nest; 2 hens my lay eggs in same nest. Incubation lasts 23-25 days; hatching peaks in mid-June in north-central Idaho. Nestlings are precocialClick word for definition and downy. Parents probably form lifetime pair bond; both parents tend young. Idaho study found nesting success ranged from 12%-63% over 2-yr period.

Conservation:
Element Code: ABNLC01010
Status: Game species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SE
National Rank: NE

Important State References:
Mendel, G.W. 1979. The hungarian partridge in the Palouse Region of Northern Idaho. M.S. Thesis, Univ. Idaho, Moscow. 161pp.


Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.