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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Gray Partridge -- Perdix perdix


RANGE: Widely introduced in North America and established locally from southern British Columbia to southwestern Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia south to northern Nevada, northern South Dakota, central Indiana, and northern Vermont. Native to Eurasia.

STATUS: Locally abundant.

HABITAT: Has adapted well to diverse and intensive agricultural land use practices. Prefers cropland areas interspersed with native grassland, but also inhabits brushy canyons and brushy stream bottoms in the West, irrigated agricultural lands, and gently rolling hay fields, grain fields, and pastures. In winter, needs protective woody cover during adverse weather and accessible food resources, such as waste grain and green plant material.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Herbaceous cover for nesting, and grit (primarily obtained from gravel roads) for grinding food.

NEST: Nests in a shallow scrape in the ground, usually located in grasses, or near the edge of hay fields or grain fields, sometimes in alfalfa fields, or along fencerows or roadsides.

FOOD: Feeds on cultivated grains, seeds of grasses and herbs, and on insects. Obtains some of its water from succulent vegetation.

REFERENCES: Johnsgard 1975a, Kobriger 1983, McCabe and Hawkins 1946, Terres 1980, Weigand 1980.


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