Grey Partridge

Irish Name: Patraisc
Scientific name: Perdix perdix
Bird Family: Game Birds
Conservation status


Resident in lowland farmland in County Offaly.


A compact bird with rounded body and wings, small bill, short rusty-red tail, a small rounded head and sturdy legs. Adults have brownish finely marked upperwings, a grey, very finely marked body with bold dark brown bars on the flanks. The 'face' and throat of the bird is orangey-brown, the belly and under tail is white; males have a brown belly patch and the females have a small patch or none at all. Juveniles are unlike adult birds and are more like a Pheasant chick or a Quail. Partridges keep to cover and are rarely seen except in flight, they only fly a short distance and only a few metres above the ground.


Calls on take-off, a series of short notes. Song, often given at night, short and clipped.


Mainly plant material, but will take insects especially when feeding young. Takes the green leaves of grasses, cereals and clover, grain and weed seeds


Nests on the ground. Associated with agricultural land, principally cereal growing areas, with tall or dense cover close to hand. In Ireland, it is now only found in Co. Offaly where the population may have dropped to as low as 20 birds in the recent past. Formally found in every county in Ireland, the species decline is attributed to a decline in cereal growing, and in the recent past, to the use of pesticides and herbicides reducing the insect food that Partridges depend on when feeding their young. The species is now the target of a species recovery plan. This has involved birds being introduced from Estonia, which are bred in captivity with Irish Birds. More details can be found on the Irish Grey Partridge Conservation Trust website (


Wintering birds are found in their breeding areas. An extremely sedentary bird, some birds may not move more than one kilometre from where they hatched.

Monitored by

Grey Partridge Survey.

Similar Species

Red-legged Partridge

Irish Name:
Scientific name:
Bird Family:
Game Birds