Find the best places to hunt Grey Partridge in Canada. Discover their Physical Description, Range, Habitat, Food Source, Breeding Habits, and Status. 

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0) Grey partridge, Perdix perdix (I) LC

The Grey Partridge is a non-native non-migrating bird that was imported from Britain in 1908. It is considered to be an exotic/alien species and may also be referred to as the Hungarian partridge. It can be found in a small range located in south western British Columbia and parts of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. It can also be found in southern Ontario and Quebec as well as Nova Scotia.

This specimen likes a mix of cultivated and non-cultivated land. A good site would be a grass land amongst some grain crop fields with brushy cover or a hedgerow separating them.

Description of Grey Partridge:

Grey Partridge

Grey Partridge

Grey Partridge - CC BY-SA 3.0,

Aside from a horseshoe shaped patch on its chest the male and female members are almost the same in appearance except that females are a duller colour. Their head and throat is cinnamon-coloured, a green bill, grey flanks and chest with vertical chestnut coloured bars, a white belly, and a grey to brown coloured back. Their two center tail feathers have deep bars on them while the outer feathers of its tail are a rusty-brown colour.

This partridge is a small bird that is only 12 to 13 inches (30.5 to 33 cm.) long, has a body mass of about 14 oz. (0.397 kg.) and a life expectancy of 5.2 years in the wild.

Diet and Foraging Strategy of the Grey Partridge:

This bird consumes mostly seeds but it will eat berries, grains, leaves, shoots, and insects. Studies have shown that 94% of their diet will consist of vegetable matter and the remaining 6% will be of animal origin.

It will eat both seeds and leaves of grasses, wild weeds and domestic grains like alfalfa, black bindweed, bluegrass, buckwheat, clover, corn knotweed, dandelion, oats, ragweed, smartweeds, sunflowers, tarweed, yellow and green foxtail.

Although insects are not big on an adult’s diet it is extremely important for young chicks during their first two weeks of life. Insects eaten will comprise of ants, beetles, butterflies, crickets, flies, grasshoppers, millipeds, and wasps.

Breeding and Reproduction of the Grey Partridge:

The along with spring comes the mating season for this bird. Males attempt to call in a mate with a call that sounds like a swinging rusty gate.

After mating in late May to early June, the female will select a nesting site at the edge of a grain field or hay field and construct her nest within a clump of vegetation or under a low bush. Nest construction is simply a scraped out depression in the ground that is lined with grass and dry leaves. She will take about 25 days to lay 10 to 20 olive coloured eggs. Once all the eggs are laid, she will spend another 25 days to incubate them. The female only raises one brood per year and if the first nest fails she will attempt to re-nest again.

New born chicks are born precocial (in an advanced state of development) and they mobile as soon as they dry off. The male and the hen will stay with her brood as they grow. The first two weeks sees them feeding almost exclusively on insects and after that they will gradually shift to a diet of plant material.

These birds will form larger groups in what is called a covey. These coveys will stay together until the spring when mating season arrives. They will separate from the covey at that time..

Annual mortality rates from weather, predations, disease, and hunting will take 75% of the population in a given year.

Status of Grey Partridge:

The status of the Grey Partridge was assessed by BirdLife International in 2015 and was placed on the Red List as a species of Least Concern. Justification for this assessment comes from the facts that it has a large range and the decline in its population is not great enough to deem it threatened. 


© Wildscreen - Source: ARKive 

© NatureServe - Source: NatureServe

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources - Source: IUCN

© Marzuki, Mohammad Effendi - Source: Malaysian Terrestrial Molluscs

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources - Source: IUCN

© Joao Pedro de Magalhaes - Source: AnAge

Alberta Environment and Parks -

Montana Field Guide -

A Note on the Food of the Hungarian Partridge - Leon Kelso – SORA -

Background Images

By Pierre Dalous - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,


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