Comprehensive Guide to selected species of:
Birds of the Boreal Forest « back to Guide
Gray Partridge Perdix perdix
Family: Pheasants and Grouse, Phasianidae
Audio: Martyn Stewart, © Naturesound.org
An estimated 5% of the species' North American population breeds within the Boreal Forest.
Description 12-14" (30-36 cm). A small, stocky, chicken-like bird, largely gray, with black U-shaped mark on underparts and bright rust-colored tail, most evident when it flies.
Habitat Grainfields, agricultural grasslands.
Nesting 10-20 unmarked olive eggs in a shallow depression lined with grass and concealed in vegetation.
Voice Hoarse kee-ah; when flushed, a rapid cackle.
Range Introduced and locally established in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, northern New York, Ontario, Ohio, Indiana, southern Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, and across northern part of western United States to British Columbia. Introduction in West has been much more successful than in East. Native to Eurasia.
Discussion Also called the "Hungarian Partridge," this bird is well adapted to areas of intensive agriculture, a habitat claimed by no native game bird. It forms coveys outside the breeding season, like the Northern Bobwhite, but does not defend a territory. In spring the flocks break up into pairs. While the male takes no part in incubating the eggs, he does help care for the young, which leave the nest soon after hatching. The Gray Partridge's high reproductive rate enables it to withstand hunting, predators, and cold, snowy northern winters, all of which take a heavy toll.