Grey Partridge

(Perdix perdix)




Facts about this animal

The grey partridge has total length of 29-31cm and a wingspan of 45-48cm. Females are slightly smaller than males and juveniles have a slightly shorter tail than adults. Head and body are rounded, the neck and tail are short. The upper parts of the plumage are mainly dull brown, including the nape and the crown, with the back and rump featuring chestnut barring. The under parts are predominantly grey with further chestnut barring on the flanks and a chestnut tail. The face and head are buff orange.

Grey partridge are gregarious birds and only separate into pairs around February prior to the breeding season, then reform into flocks from July to early August. Adult birds feed principally on plants, the three main groups being grain and weed seeds, cereals and clover, and the green leaves of grasses; a small percentage of insects also feature in the diet. However grey partridge chicks require a diet of over 90% insects in their first few weeks of life.

Did you know?
that grey partridge populations in several European countries fell by more than 80% since 1950? This development has been caused mainly by changing farming practices resulting in a loss of suitable breeding habitats.


Class AVES
Name (Scientific) Perdix perdix
Name (English) Grey Partridge
Name (French) Perdrix grise
Name (German) Rebhuhn
Name (Spanish) Perdiz pardilla
Local names Czech: Koroptev polní
Danish: Agerhøne
Dutch: Patrijs
Estonian: Nurmkana
Finnish: Peltopyy
Hungarian: fogoly
Italian: Starna
Polish: Kur opatwa
Portuguese: Perdiz-cinzenta
Romansh: Pernisch grischa
Slovak: Jarabica pol'ná
Swedish: Rapphöna
Turkish: çilkeklik
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
BS Thurner Hof



Range Europe, North and Central Asia, introduced to North America
Habitat Farmland, wasteland, moors, steppes and semi deserts
Wild population 5,000,000-10,000,000 individuals (Red List IUCN 2011)
Zoo population 42 reported to ISIS (2006)

In the Zoo

Grey Partridge


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 16 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Marek Szczepanek

Why do zoos keep this animal

The grey partrdige, originally a characteristic bird of eastern grasslands, is a good example of a hemerophil species, which could expand its range thanks to traditional agriculture, but which recently lost vast parts of its range due to changes in agricultural practices. The grey partrige is thus a flagship species for campaigns aimed at maintaining or restoring biodiceristy in densely settled and intensively used regions of Europe.

Where habitats have been restored, zoos may contribute to reintroduction programmes by making avaiable zoo-bred birds or technical assitance.