Living Organisms / Animalia / Craniata / Aves / Galliformes / Phasianidae / Perdix / Species
Perdix perdix - Grey partridge (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)










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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

  • Common Partridge.
  • Hungarian Partridge.
  • Gray Partridge (North America).
  • Patrijs (Holland).
  • Perdrix grise (France).
  • Rebhuhn (Germany).
  • Starna (Italy).
  • Perdix pardilla (Spain).
  • Rapphöna (Sweden).

(B19, B162)

Names for newly-hatched


Names for non-breeding males or other colour-phases


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Species Author

Gordon McLeod

Species Editor

Debra Bourne

Major References

B89, B162, B163, B164, B165, B166 

Aviculture references:

(UK Contacts)

(Further Reading)
Click image for full contents list of ELECTRONIC LIBRARY

  • --

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TAXA Group (where information has been collated for an entire group on a modular basis)

Parent Group

  • Pheasants, Partridges, Quail.

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques


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Aviculture Information


Individual Techniques linked in Wildpro

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External Appearance (Morphology)

Measurement & Weight

Length Head to tail:
  • General: 29-31cm (B162); 28-32cm (B164); 30cm (B165); 29-32cm / 11-13 ins. (B166)


  • General: 45-48cm. (B162)


  • Male: 154-166mm. (B162)
  • Female: 151-160mm. (B162)
Adult weight Male 350-450g. (B162)
Female 340-420g .(B162)
Newly-hatched weight --
Growth rate --

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Adult Bill Male Sort and stubby; grey. (B162, B164, B166)
Variations (If present) --
Eyes Male Black. (B162, B164, B166)
Variations(If present) --
Juvenile Bill Olive-grey. (B162, B164)
Eyes (Iris) Black. (B162, B164)

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Adult Male Grey with buff tinge. (B162, B164, B166)
Variations (If present) --
Juvenile Grey with pinkish-buff tinge. (B162, B164)

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  • Upperparts: Brown and black and white stripes; rump: buff.
  • Head: Crown streaks of brown and black; cheeks red; eyebrow (line over eye) grey;
  • Underparts: Breast: grey; belly: wide horseshoe-shaped area of chestnut-brown; throat: orange.
  • Wings: Streaks of brown and black, with white edges to feathers; underside (greater coverts): cream; (rest of wing): pale- grey with cream strips.
  • Tail: Short and rounded; upper: buff, with orange triangular tips; under: white, with orange triangular tips.

(B162, B164, B166)

  • Upperparts: Brown, with black and white stripes running from nape to tail.
  • Underparts: Pale brown with black streaks, fading to white at the belly.

(B162, B164)

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Newly-hatched Characteristics

Precocial; mobile, downy, eyes open, follow parents. (B163)

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Reproductive Season

Time of year
  • April to September, early in southern and central Europe, later further north. (B162)
  • In Britain, early April to early May. (B162, B166)
No. of Clutches 1. (B162, B163, B166)

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Nest placement and structure

  • Territorial nest.
  • Scrape on ground, lined with grass.
  • Screened by thick surrounding vegetation.

(B162, B163)

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Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average 10-20 (B162, B163); 9-20 (B166); Clutch size increases from south to north, and from south-east to north-west throughout range. (B162)
Range 4-29 (B162, B163)
Egg description: Smooth and glossy, broad oval 36mm long. Buff to olive-brown in colour.

(B162, B163, B166)

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23-25 days (B162, B166); 17-20 days. (B163)

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Synchronous. (B163)

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Precocial flight at about 15 days (B162); 19 days (B163); 16 days. (B166)

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Sexual Maturity

Males --
Females --

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Feeding Behaviour

Adults Pick at food with beak. (B162, B163)
Newly-hatched Take insects. (B163)

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Parental Behaviour

Nest-building Built by female. (B163)
Incubation By female only. (B163)
Newly-hatched Fed by both parents. (B163)

Remain with parents in family group over autumn and winter. (B162)

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Social Behaviour

  • Gregarious outside breeding season, in flocks of 5-15, up to around 25 birds.
  • Flocks usually made up of one (or two) families, rarely entirely adult birds when chick mortality has been high.
  • Displays occur between females (and between males) to establish dominance in winter flocks.
  • Territorial during breeding season.


Inter-specific --

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Sexual Behaviour

  • Monogamous pair bond, may be reformed in the next season.
  • Female often initiates courtship, by pointing her beak at the flanks of the male.

(B162, B163)

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Predation in Wild


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Activity Patterns

  • Walk and run
  • Take off and land on ground.


Circadian --

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Natural Diet


  • Seeds.
  • Grass leaves.
  • Cereals and clover.
  • Insects.

(B162, B163, B166)

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Insects, particularly in first two weeks. (B162, B163)

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Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

Normal Resident throughout most of range. Widespread from Britain, eastwards across central Europe and Asia to 95º E.

Britain: Resident.


  • Partially migratory in eastern Europe.
  • Weather-dependant southwards migration in central and eastern Russia, when snow depth rises to about 2 feet.

(B162, B163)

Occasional and Accidental --

Canada and USA. Attempts elsewhere unsuccessful. (B162)

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  • Open country and farmland.
  • Hedgerow, scrub or woodland verges for cover.

(B162, B163)

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Intraspecific variation

Some clinal variation.
  • Perdix perdix italica; (Italy); darker, streaky colouration.
  • Perdix perdix hispaniensis; (Pyrénées and North Spain); darker, streaky colouration.


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Conservation Status

Wild Population -

Declining across range. (B162, B163)

General Legislation  
CITES listing --
Red-data book listing --
Threats Intensive agricultural practices and use of pesticides have resulted in decline of insect populations, which are the primary food for young chicks. (B162, B163)

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Captive Populations


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