Red-legged Partridge


Red-legged Partridge

Taxobox
name = Red-legged Partridge
status = LC | status_system = IUCN3.1
status_ref = [IUCN2006|assessors=BirdLife International|year=2004|id=47004|title=Alectoris rufa|downloaded=11 May 2006 Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern]



image_width = 240px
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Aves
ordo = Galliformes
familia = Phasianidae
genus = "Alectoris"
species = "A. rufa"
binomial = "Alectoris rufa"
binomial_authority = (Linnaeus, 1758)

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 species, but the young in particular take insects as an essential protein supply. The call is a three-syllable "ka-chu-chu".

Habitat

This partridge breeds naturally in south western Europe, in France and Iberia. It has become naturalised in southern England, where it was introduced as a game species, and has been seen breeding in Lancashire. 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.

Morphology

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.

Head

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.

Underparts

The chin and upper throat are creamy-white, and are bordered behind and below by a solid black gorget. The black colour continues down onto the lower throat as a patch of broad triangular black streaks on a pale sandy-grey background. Similar, but narrower, black streaks are present on a pale blue-grey background on the upper neck-sides, while the lower neck-sides are warm pinkish-brown. The breast is pale blue-grey, and the belly pinkish-buff. The flanks are marked with bold bright rufous-brown bars, typically between eight and ten; each bar has a narrow black leading edge, the background colour is off-white in front of each bar, and pale grey behind.

Upper parts

The upper parts are plain, unmarked dark sandy-grey. The uppertail-coverts are similar in colour, and contrast with the pinkish-rufous tail-feathers.

Bare parts

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

References

External links

* [http://www.ibercajalav.net/img/141_RedleggedPartridgeArufa.pdf Identification guide (PDF) by Javier Blasco-Zumeta]


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