A plump, round gamebird the grey partridge is locally common but now thinly distributed and becoming scarce in most parts of the country. A farmland bird, it feeds on seeds, leaves and small invertebrates. When disturbed, grey partridges prefer to run instead of fly but they will fly low to the ground if necessary. They breed in open scrub and farmland, close to hedges or other vegetation, laying their eggs on the ground in a grass-lined scrape.
The orange face and black horseshoe-shaped patch on the belly immediately identifies the grey partridge. It is grey-brown above with a grey chest and orange-brown stripes down the flanks.
Length: 29-32cm Wingspan: 46cm Weight: 390g Average Lifespan: 3 years
Classified in the UK as a Red List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review and as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.
England and the lowland parts of Scotland and Wales.
When to see
January – December
Also known as the ‘English partridge’, our grey partridge population declined by 50% between 1969 and 1990; their estimated population is now 70-75,000 pairs.