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Bird of the Week: Gray Partridge

Okanogan Country | 12/14/2018 | Blog, Fishing & Hunting, Methow Valley, Wildlife Viewing

Introduced to North America in the late-nineteenth century, these European imports were first released in Washington and California but are now found in about a dozen Western and Midwestern states and most Canadian provinces. The first birds released in this country came from Hungary, so the gray partridge is also commonly known as Hungarian partridge, or Hun.

Diet:

  • cultivated grains
  • weedy seeds
  • clover 
  • leafy material

Young Partridge Feed Heavily On: 

  • crickets
  • ants
  • grasshoppers
  • other insects

Size:

Grow over a foot long and weigh about three-quarters of a pound

Habitat: 

They often inhabit the “margins” where agricultural fields and native shrub-steppe habitat meet.

Classic Hungarian partridge country might be a field of corn or wheat stubble bordered or intersected by a couple of brushy draws or a gently-sloping hillside dotted with sagebrush. A small stream, pond or wetland nearby would likely make such a spot even more attractive to a covey of Huns.

How to Spot the Gray Partridge: 

To most hunters and birdwatchers, the gray partridge doesn’t appear very gray at all. That’s because they’re most likely to see the bird’s rust-colored tail and reddish-brown back and wings as it flies straight away from them. If the bird is crossing, you may see the chestnut and gray bars along its flanks. A horseshoe-shaped mark of dark chestnut covers the lower half of the breast.

To learn more visit: WDFW Gray Partridge

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