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© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki, Jouko Lehmuskallio, M. & W. von Wright: Svenska fåglar (Kansalliskirjasto, The National Library of Finland). Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.

Partridge

Perdix perdix

  • Name also: Grey Partridge, Gray Partridge, English Partridge, Hungarian Partridge, European Partridge, Common Partridge
  • Family: Pheasants and partridges – Phasianidae
    Subfamily: Grey partridges – Perdicinae
  • Appearance: A fairly small, plumpish farmland bird. Reddish brown edges to tail prominent on birds in flight.
  • Size: Length 28–32 cm, wingspan 45–48 cm, weight 220–475 g.
  • Nest: In a depression on the ground concealed among vegetation in scrubland or field verges, with little nest material used.
  • Breeding: Lays 10–30 eggs (average 16) in May. Only females incubate, for 23–26 days. Young birds able to fly within two weeks.
  • Distribution: Found in farmland, often in flocks, though during the breeding season pairs keep to their own limited territories. More common in Southern Finland but occurs as far north as Oulu. Finnish population estimated at 3,000–5,000 pairs.
  • Migration: Sedentary, but may leave breeding grounds in autumn to seek new territory.
  • Diet: Small invertebrates, vegetation and seeds.
  • Calls: In flight a metallic “kri-kri-kri”.
  • Endangerment: Near threatened.

Partridges are plump Wood Pigeon-sized bird species in pheasant family. They have reddish brown cheeks and throats, and blue-grey breasts. Males have a dark brown horseshoe-shaped marking on their chests. Their backs are greyish brown marked with thin, pale streaks. A good distinguishing feature is their reddish brown tails, which are particularly prominent on birds in flight. Young birds are duller in colouring with uniformly pale cheeks and throats. Their bellies are white and their plumage is extensively marked with thin, pale streaks.

Partridges breed in areas with plenty of open farmland. They are shy and sensitive to disturbance, and will readily crouch down on the ground to hide or run away when humans approach even at a considerable distance. They have declined recently due to the intensification of farming, and the gradual disappearance from farmland of open ditches and barns (where they shelter in winter). Partridges are game birds.

Other species from the same family

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