Living Bird Magazine
Gray PartridgePerdix perdix
- ORDER: Galliformes
- FAMILY: Phasianidae
The Gray Partridge is a portly game bird with a rusty face, tail, streaks down the sides, and a dark belly patch. It walks through agricultural fields and grasslands feasting on seeds. Small groups called coveys forage together year-round and explode into a scratchy, squawking flight when disturbed even at a considerable distance. Often called “Hungarian partridge” or just “Huns” by hunters, these birds were introduced to North America from Europe in the early 1900s.More ID Info
Find This Bird
Gray Partridges blend in extremely well in agricultural fields and grasslands. Even so, they don't let you get too close before flushing, sometimes taking flight when you are about 60 feet away, while most quails don't flush until under foot. To see them before they detect you, take a slow walk through an agricultural field with wheat or corn stubble and stop every so often to scan in between the rows. Start your search at dawn or dusk when they are actively foraging and easier to see. Because they are relatively uncommon in North America you will likely need to search through several agricultural fields before finding a covey.
- Perdiz Pardilla (Spanish)
- Perdrix grise (French)
- Cool Facts
- Gray Partridge hens lay a lot of eggs. Females can lay up to 22 eggs—among the most of any bird species.
- Gray Partridges have short lives and high mortality rates. In a Montana study, for example, life expectancy was around 1.8 years for adults and the maximum age was 4 years.