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Definition: partridge from Philip's Encyclopedia

Any of several species of gamebirds found worldwide. True partridges of Europe belong to the pheasant family (Phasianidae), and include the common partridge Perdix perdix, which has been introduced to N America. It lives on heathland, scrub and farmland, and feeds on plants and insects.


Summary Article: partridge
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Any of various medium-sized ground-dwelling fowl of the family Phasianidae, order Galliformes, that also includes pheasants, quail, and chickens. Partridges are Old World birds, some of which have become naturalized in North America.

Partridges pair very early in the year, the males, like the males of most gallinaceous species, being very pugnacious. The nest is made with a minimum of trouble on the ground in fields or hedgerows, and contains 10–20 olive brown eggs. The hen hatches them, but the male is attentive to her during incubation. The young are fed chiefly on ant pupae, and other insects when these are not available; these and snails and slugs form a considerable proportion of the food of older birds, but in addition grain and other seeds are consumed in great quantity when obtainable. The young remain with their parents for some months, forming coveys of about 20 birds. In the morning and evening they search the stubble and pastures for food, but during the day they hide wherever safe cover may be found.

Two species common in the UK are the grey partridge Perdix perdix, with mottled brown back, grey speckled breast, and patches of chestnut on the sides, and the French partridge Alectoris rufa, distinguished by its red legs, bill, and eyelids. The back is plain brown, the throat white edged with black, and the sides barred chestnut and black. The wings are rounded and short.

During the period 1960–99 the grey partridge Perdix perdix has declined by 90% in Britain. Reasons for decline include increased herbicide use and infection by parasites.

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