Partridge, one of a number of game birds related to the pheasants and peacocks. Most birds called partridges belong to one family, which includes several species of true partridges native to Europe, Asia, and Africa. The family also includes the North American quail, known as “bobwhite” in the northern United States and as “partridge” in the South. The ruffed grouse of North America belongs to a different family, but is often called “partridge” in the northern states.
Two species of true Old World partridges were introduced into North America many years ago. One of these is the European gray partridge, or Hungarian partridge. It is found in western Canada, Oregon, California, Montana, Wisconsin, and Iowa. The other is the chukar partridge. It is a popular game bird in California, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, and Colorado. The gray partridge and chukar partridge are similar in appearance—about 12 inches (30 cm) long, with dark-gray plumage above, lighter plumage below, and markings of brown and black. The chukar has a black line through the eye, and its bill and feet are red.The gray partrodge is about one foot long with dark-gray plumage.
Partridges feed on grain and other seeds and on insects. Their shallow, grass-lined nests are built on the ground, where they are concealed by tall grass or other vegetation. The female lays from 6 to 20 eggs, according to the species. The eggs of some species are plain white or cream-colored. In other species, the eggs may be blotched or speckled with brown or lavender.
True partridges and quails belong to the family Phasianidae. The European gray partridge is Perdix perdix; chukar partridge, Alectoris chukar.