Gray Partridge

Perdix perdix
Phasianidae (pheasants and partridges) in the order Galliformes

A small chicken-like bird (also known as the Hungarian partridge) with a short neck and tail. It has a grayish-brown back and chest and a dark, reddish, U-shaped belly patch. Flanks have chestnut barring, and face and throat are reddish. Bill and legs are gray. Short, rounded wings. Tail chestnut.

Length: 12 1/2 inches (tip of bill to tip of tail).
Habitat and conservation: 
Pastures with fencerows, hayfields and grainfields. In the autumn, gray partridges gather into coveys of about a dozen birds.
This species is primarily a seed eater, but the young require insects in the diet to provide the protein necessary for their growth.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Nodaway, Atchison and Knox counties (in northern Missouri).
Introduced gamebird. Most of their North American range is to the northwest of our state (especially in the Dakotas, Montana and the Prairie Provinces of Canada), though some gray partridges do appear in northern Missouri.
Life cycle: 
Nests in a depression on ground lined with leaves, straw and grass. Lays 15-17 eggs that are olive (occasionally white) and unmarked. Incubation: 23-25 days. Fledging: 13-15 days.
Human connections: 
A favorite of gamebird hunters, who enjoy the wing-shooting challenge as well as its meat, this species is native to Europe and western Asia.
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