GRAY PARTRIDGE(Perdix perdix) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Gray Partridge is a plump game bird with a grey chest and back. The short tail and round wings are also grey but are barred reddish-brown. There are also fine white streaks on the wings. The face and throat are reddish-brown and the belly white. In the males there is a large dark brown patch on the belly, and sometimes also in the females. The male also has a red line under the eye. The bill is light grey, and the legs dark grey. Sexes are similar otherwise, and juveniles are brown-yellow and have no belly markings. This bird measures approximately 30 cm (12 inches) long. There are several species.
NAME: The gray partridge is also called the Hungarian Partridge. The Latin name ‘Perdix’ means ‘partridge’.
HABITAT: Grasslands, fields.
DIET: Mainly seeds, although the young need insects to develop.
NESTING: The nest is a shallow depression on the ground in a well-sheltered area. The grey partridge has one of the largest clutches in any bird species – up to 22 eggs, which are beige. Female incubates, but both parents feed the young.
DISTRIBUTION: Native to Eurasia, but successfully introduced to many other countries around the world, including Canada. Introduced in the Maritimes in the 1920s. The main range in Canada is in the Prairies.
ON PEI: The gray partridge is a year-round resident on Prince Edward Island, and is fairly common.
CONSERVATION: Numbers in this bird species have known a marked decline over the last few decades, but it is still not considered as threatened.
NOTES: When flying the bird’s wings make a whirring sound.  In the winter birds are foraging in small groups called ‘coveys’.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Ring-necked Pheasant (female), California Quail
REFERENCES: (Maritimes Breeding Bird Atlas) (New Hampshire PBS) (Missouri Department of Conservation)

Grey or Hungarian Partridge – St. Margaret’s, PEI – Dec. 24, 2013 – © Joanne Dunphy
Grey partridge, PEI, by Joanne Dunphy
Grey partridge covey – photo by K.Pitk
Grey partridge covey, by K.Pitk
Grey partridge in Alberta – photo by SriMesh
Grey partridge, by Srimesh
Grey partridge adult male at Turvey, Dublin, Ireland – photo by David Galavan
Grey partridge adult male
Ireland, by David Galavan