Identification
greypartridgeRotund greyish partridge, note the short rufous tail, rusty face, chestnut bars on sides. Male has a dark, U-shaped splotch on the belly.

Size
12-14" (30-35 cm)

 

Similar Species
Chukar (which also has a rufous tail) has a red bill and feet and a black "necklace."

Voice
A loud, hoarse kar-wit, kar-wit.


Habitat
Cultivated land, hedgerows, bushy pastures, meadows. Mostly lives in grasslands and agricultural fields. Farmland is excellent habitat as long as hedgerows and shelterbelts are left between fields. In winter often in stubble fields, moving into edges of woodlots in harsh weather.

Feeding
Diet: Mostly seeds, also leaves and insects. Eats seeds from a wide variety of plants, including many grasses and weeds, also waste grain from crops such as wheat, oats, corn, and sunflower. Seeds are most of diet in autumn and winter; eats more green leaves in spring, insects in summer. Young chicks eat mostly insects.


Behaviour:
Forages in coveys most of year, alone or in pairs in spring. Takes most food from ground. In winter, may burrow into snow to reach seeds on ground.

Nesting
In courtship, male flicks tail up and down, puffs out chest feathers to display dark belly patch and barred flanks; female approaches with bobbing movements of head.

Nest:
Site is on ground among dense cover, sometimes in open field but more often under hedgerow or shelterbelt or on brushy roadside. Nest (built by female) is a shallow scrape lined with grass, leaves.
Eggs:
Usually 12-18, sometimes up to 22 or more, sometimes fewer than 10. Fewer eggs in later clutches. Eggs buff, brown, or olive. Incubation begins after last egg is laid; until that time, eggs are covered with grass and weeds. Incubation by female only, 21-26 days.
Young:
Downy young leave nest soon after hatching. Both parents tend young, but young feed themselves. Young can make short flights at 1-2 weeks, full-grown at 3-4 months, remain with parents through first winter.

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