Partridge — Partridges are birds in the pheasant family, Phasianidae. They are a non-migratory Old World group.
These are medium-sized birds, intermediate between the larger pheasants and the smaller quails. Partridges are native to Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Partridges are ground-nesting seed-eaters.
According to Greek legend, the first partridge appeared when Daedalus threw his nephew, Perdix, off a roof in a fit of jealous rage.
Partridges are famously featured in the Christmas carol “The 12 Days of Christmas”, where they appear in the first line of the first chorus and the last line of the remaining choruses, “A partridge in a pear tree.”
The name partridge is also sometimes associated with grouse, the bobwhite, and quail.
Partridges have unusually plump bodies, short, deep chests, feathered tails, round wings and short, thick bills. The two species introduced to North America are:
Chukar Partridge, which is the more colorful and well known of the two birds. Chukars are brown and gray in color, and have stark white stripes on sides of the body, bordered with deep black outlines. The throat area is white, also bordered with a deep black hue. The most prominent feature of the chukar are its bright red coloring, which is found on the bill and feet.
Gray Partridge is less colorful, and tends to be found in the midwestern United States, with high concentrations in the farmland regions of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois. Gray partridges have a dull gray or brown nape, and brown coloring on the back and wing areas. The gray partridge is often referred to as the Hungarian partridge by many hunters.
Both types of North American partridges are 10-14 inches long and weigh less than 1-pound. Both sexes of the partridge tend to look alike.
The partridge is a fast bird. Using his deep chest to propel himself, the partridge can scurry across the ground at quick speeds to avoid predators.
Partridges exist on a diet of insects and various greens. This bird most often forages for food in areas close to home. Partridges can often be found on the ground.