- Also known as the Hungarian partridge, the gray partridge is a small bird, only 30 centimetres (12 inches) long.
- Both sexes are nearly identical, but the adult male has a distinct, horseshoe-shaped, chestnut patch on its breast.
- Breast patches of females and immatures are broken and less distinct.
- In flight, chestnut tail feathers can be seen clearly.
- A native of the bush plains of Europe and western Asia, the species was introduced to central and southern Alberta in 1908.
It is now well-established in the prairies and parklands of Alberta.
- The gray partridge seems well-suited to Alberta's winters, using windbreaks and straw piles for shelter
- Diet includes grains and other seeds, leaves and berries.
- In spring, the cock attracts a mate with a call that sounds like the creaking of a rusty gate.
- The hen builds a nest in grass or low bushes. Ten to 20 olive-colored eggs hatch in about 25 days.
- The hen and her chicks remain together throughout the summer, feeding on grain, seeds, leaves and berries. Mortality is
high, and only about eight chicks will survive to the fall. At this time coveys of 10 to 20 birds are formed.
- The coveys remain together all winter, dispersing in spring as the birds pair off and mate.
The gray partridge is classified as Exotic/Alien in the General Status of Alberta Wild Species
Hunting season information for this species is provided in the current Alberta Guide to Hunting Regulations. To view
the guide online or to order a printed copy, visit the My Wild Alberta website at:
Posted: Apr 7, 2009