Our Beautiful World

The Rock Partridges, Genus Alectoris
also known as Red-legged Partridges

Red-legged Partridge, Alectoris rufa

Chukar Partridge, Alectoris chukar
Rock Partridge, Alectoris graeca
Barbary Partridge , Alectoris barbara




A Red-legged Partridge, Alectoris rufa, in Kirkmichael, Scotland.
Photo: Mark Medcalf


Partridges are birds in the pheasant family, Phasianidae. They are a non-migratory Old World group.
These are medium-sized birds, intermediate between the larger pheasants and the smaller quails. Partridges are native to Europe,
Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Partridges are ground-nesting seed-eaters.

Alectoris, is a genus of partridges with representatives in southern Europe, north Africa and Arabia, and across Asia in Pakistan
to Tibet and western China. Members of the genus, notably the Chukar and Red-legged Partridge, have been introduced to the
United States, Canada, New Zealand and Hawaii. In some countries, such as Great Britain, hybrids between the two widespread
introduced species are common.

These are non-migratory birds of dry, open and often hilly country. The nest in a scantily lined ground scrape laying up to 20 eggs.
They feed on a wide variety of seeds and some insect food.

These are rotund birds, typically with a light brown or grey back, grey breast and buff belly. The face is white or whitish with a
dark gorget. They have has rufous-streaked flanks and red legs. When disturbed, they prefer to run rather than fly, but if
necessary will fly a short distance on rounded wings.

Order: Galliformes
Family: Phasianidae
Subfamily Perdicinae

Subfamily Perdicinae
– grey partridges
       (probably belong in either Meleagridinae or Phasianinae)


Genus Alectoris - The Rock Partridges, also known as Red-legged Partridges,
                               found in Europe, Africa & Asia.
Arabian Partridge, Alectoris melanocephala
Przevalski's Partridge, Alectoris magna
Rock Partridge, Alectoris graeca
Chukar, Alectoris chukar
Philby's Partridge, Alextoris philbyi
Barbary Partridge, Alectoris barbara
Red-legged Partridge, Alectoris rufa




Red-legged Partridge, Alectoris rufa


Red-legged Partridge, Alectoris rufa
Photo:
Arturo Nikolai

The Red-legged Partridge, Alectoris rufa, is a gamebird in the pheasant family Phasianidae of the order Galliformes, gallinaceous birds. It is sometimes known as French Partridge, to distinguish it from the Grey or English Partridge.

It is a rotund bird, with a light brown back, grey breast and buff belly. The face is white with a black gorget. It has rufous-streaked
flanks and red legs. When disturbed, it prefers to run rather than fly, but if necessary it flies a short distance on rounded wings.

This is a seed-eating bird, but the young in particular take insects as an essential protein supply. The call is a three-syllable ka-chu-chu.

This partridge breeds naturally in south western Europe, in France and Iberia. It has become naturalised in flat areas of England and
Wales, where it was introduced as a game species, and has been seen breeding as far North as Lancashire and Eastern Yorkshire
and the western Isle of Man. It is replaced in south eastern Europe by the very similar Rock Partridge, Alectoris graeca. It is a non-
migratory terrestrial species, which forms flocks outside the breeding season.

This species breeds on dry lowlands, such as farmland and open stony areas, laying its eggs in a ground nest.

Adult Red-legged Partridges are sandy-brown above, pinkish-buff on the belly, and pale grey on the breast, with a prominent gorget
of black streaking, bold rufous and black flank-bars, a cream throat, pink legs, and a red bill and eye ring.

The crown and upper nape of adult Red-legged Partridge are a warm pinkish-brown; the fore crown and lateral edges of the crown
are pale blue-grey, and the bird has a narrow off-white supercilium running from above the lores to the sides of the lower nape.
The lores have a solid bar of black feathering above a patch of pinkish-red skin. This black colouration continues behind the eye,
where it broadens, and then extends down around the throat-patch to meet the upper edge of the gorget. There is a patch of pale
buff-brown feathering on the ear-coverts, adjoining the black. The eye is surrounded by a bright red eye-ring.

The bill is bright red, the iris is medium brown, and the legs are pinkish-red.

They are among the favourite targets for bird-hunters in Spain. Read more here.



Chukar Partridge, Alectoris chukar



Chukar Partridge, Alectoris chukar
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Alectoris-chukar-001.jpg

The Chukar Partridge or Chukar, Alectoris chukar, is a Eurasian upland gamebird in the pheasant family Phasianidae. It has been
considered to form a superspecies complex along with the Rock Partridge, Philby's Partridge and Przevalski's Partridge and treated in the
past as conspecific particularly with the first. This partridge has well marked black and white bars on the flanks and a black band running
from the forehead across the eye and running down the head to form a necklace that encloses a white throat. The species has been
introduced into many other places and feral populations have established themselves in parts of North America and New Zealand

The Chukar is a rotund 32–35 cm long partridge, with a light brown back, grey breast, and buff belly. The shades vary across the various
populations. The face is white with a black gorget. It has rufous-streaked flanks, red legs and coral red bill. Sexes are similar, the female
slightly smaller in size and lacking the spur. The tail has 14 feathers, the third primary is the longest while the first is level with the fifth and
sixth primaries.

It is very similar to the Rock Partridge, Alectoris graeca, with which it has been lumped in the past but is browner on the back and has
a yellowish tinge to the foreneck. The sharply defined gorget distinguishes this species from the Red-legged Partridge which has the black
collar breaking into dark streaks near the breast. Their song is a noisy chuck-chuck-chukar-chukar from which the name is derived.
The Barbary partridge, Alectoris barbara, has a reddish brown rather than black collar with a grey throat and face with a chestnut crown.

Other common names of this bird include Chukker (sometimes spelled as 'Chuker' or 'Chukor'), Indian Chukar and Keklik.



Chukar Partridge, Alectoris chukar, Germany
Photo: Fiorellino

This partridge has its native range in Asia, from Israel and Turkey through Afghanistan to India, along the inner ranges of the Western
Himalayas to Nepal. Further west in southeastern Europe it is replaced by the Red-legged Partridge, Alectoris rufa. It barely ranges
into Africa on the Sinai Peninsula. The habitat in the native range is rocky open hillsides with grass or scattered scrub or cultivation.
It is mainly found at an altitude of 2000 to 4000 m except in Pakistan, where it occurs at 600m. They are not found in areas of high
humidity or rainfall.

It has been introduced widely as a game bird, and feral populations have become established in the United States Rocky Mountains,
Great Basin, high desert areas of California, Canada, New Zealand and Hawaii. Initial introductions into the US were from the nominate
populations collected from Afghanistan and Nepal. It has also been introduced to New South Wales in Australia but breeding populations
have not persisted and are probably extinct. A small population exists on Robben Island in South Africa since it was introduced there in 1964.

ARKive video - Chukar - overview

Chukar - overview
BBC Natural History Unit
www.arkive.org


The Chukar Partridge is part of a confusing group of "Red-legged Partridges". Several plumage variations within the widespread
distribution of the Chukar Partridge have been described and designated as subspecies. In the past the Chukar group was included with
the Rock Partridge (also known as the Greek Partridge). The species from Turkey and farther east was subsequently separated from
Alectoris graeca of Greece and Bulgaria and western Europe.



Rock Partridge, Alectoris graeca


Rock Partridge, Alectoris graeca
Photo: Richard Bartz


The Rock Partridge, Alectoris graeca, is a gamebird in the pheasant family Phasianidae of the order Galliformes, gallinaceous birds.

This partridge has its main (native) range in southwestern Asia and southeastern Europe, and is closely related and very similar to its
eastern equivalent, the Chukar Partridge, Alectoris chukar.

This is a resident breeder in dry, open and often hilly country. It nests in a scantily lined ground scrape laying 5-21 eggs.
The Rock Partridge takes a wide variety of seeds and some insect food.

The Rock Partridge is a rotund bird, with a light brown back, grey breast and buff belly. The face is white with a black gorget.
It has rufous-streaked flanks and red legs. When disturbed, it prefers to run rather than fly, but if necessary it flies a short distance
on rounded wings.

It is very similar to the Chukar Partridge, but is greyer on the back and has a white, not yellowish foreneck. The sharply defined gorget
distinguishes this species from Red-legged Partridge. The song is a noisy ga-ga-ga-ga-chakera- chakera- chakera.

This species is declining in parts of its range due to habitat loss and over-hunting. While it generally manages to hold its own, the status
of the Sicilian population may be more precarious and certainly deserves attention.


Barbary Partridge , Alectoris barbara


Barbary Partridge , Alectoris barbara, Tenerife
Photo: Frits van der Meer


The Barbary Partridge , Alectoris barbara, is a gamebird in the pheasant family Phasianidae of the order Galliformes, gallinaceous birds.

This partridge has its main native range in North Africa, and is also native to Gibraltar and the Canary Islands (Ssp Alectoris barbara koenigi). It has been introduced to Portugal and Madeira, though there are no recent records of this species on the latter islands.
It is also present in Sardinia. It is closely related to its western European equivalent, the Red-legged Partridge, Alectoris rufa.

This 33–36 cm bird is a resident breeder in dry, open and often hilly country. It nests in a scantily lined ground scrape laying 10-16 eggs.
The Barbary Partridge takes a wide variety of seeds and some insect food.

The Barbary Partridge is a rotund bird, with a grey-brown back, grey breast and buff belly. The face is light grey with a broad reddish-
brown gorget. It has rufous-streaked white flanks and red legs. When disturbed, it prefers to run rather than fly, but if necessary it flies
a short distance on rounded wings.

It is similar to the Red-legged Partridge, but it has a different head and neck pattern.
The song is a noisy tre-tre-tre-tre-tre-cheeche-tre-tre-tre.

The Barbary Partridge is the national bird of Gibraltar.


Don't forget to go to http://www.gbwf.org/ for lots of more info on Pheasants.

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