Gray Partridge - Perdix perdix
Gray Partridge (Hungarian Partridge) sexes are similar in color. The adults have cinnamon-colored heads, gray sides with vertical chestnut bars, and grayish to brownish backs. The two central pairs of tail feathers are heavily barred, while the outer tail feathers are rusty-brown. Both sexes may have a chestnut-brown horseshoe design on the breast, although it is more common in males. Gray Partridge usually flush in coveys of 10 to 15 birds, and the rufous tail feathers are conspicuous on birds in flight. Adult males and females range from 12 to 13 inches in length and average about 14 ounces in weight.
For a comprehensive review of the conservation status, habitat use, and ecology of this and other Montana bird species, please see Marks et al. 2016, Birds of Montana.
Chukars, which have a limited distribution in Montana, are somewhat larger than Gray Partridges (Hungarian Partidge); they also have red bills and feet, black bars on the sides, and a light throat bordered by a prominent black necklace.
Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations:
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Map Help and Descriptions
SUMMER (Feb 16 - Dec 14)
Direct Evidence of Breeding
Indirect Evidence of Breeding
No Evidence of Breeding
WINTER (Dec 15 - Feb 15)
Not Regularly Observed
(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)
Habitat consists of a mixture of cultivated and noncultivated land; grasslands interspersed with wheat fields, weed patches, and brushy cover. Optimum conditions are a cool, moderately dry climate and a mixture of cultivated and noncultivated land. Grain fields and winter wheat stubble are also used. Field edges provide escape and winter cover (Mussehl 1971).
Waste grain is a staple fall and winter food. Weed seeds and insects are summer food.
Brood sizes decrease by one-third by September 1. The annual mortality rate is 75% due to adverse weather, farming operations, predation, accidents, disease, hunting, and probably pesticides. The state population has increased since the 1940's due to increased grain growing (Mussehl 1971).
Fortine hatching dates are from June 25 to July 31. The average peak during the time period from 1964 to 1967 was June 19 to July 9 (Mussehl 1971). Egg laying begins in late May to early June; clutches of 12 to 18 are common (Mussehl 1971).
- Literature Cited AboveLegend: View Online Publication
- Marks, J.S., P. Hendricks, and D. Casey. 2016. Birds of Montana. Arrington, VA. Buteo Books. 659 pages.
- Mussehl, T.W. and F.W. Howell (eds.). 1971. Game management in Montana. Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Helena, Mont. 238 pp.
- Additional ReferencesLegend: View Online Publication
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