Grey Partridge

The grey partridge (Perdix perdix) is a member of the Order Galliformes, Family Phasianidae, Genus Perdix. It is found on farmland from west Russia across Europe south to Italy and Greece, north to lower regions of Scandinavia to the Atlantic seaboard in Ireland. Over the last century the species has been introduced to North America where it has become established in many States.

The biological features of the grey partridge clearly show it is a species strictly linked with open steppe type habitats. It is believed that the species was not therefore present in Western Europe before human cereals cultivation 5000-8000 years ago.

The origin of this Gallinaceous bird is likely to be the asiatic steppe as indicated by the presence in the Eastern Paleartic region of the only other species of the Perdix genus. These are the similar but smaller, bearded or Daurian partridge and the similar sized but differently coloured Tibetan or Ladakh partridge. This indicates an earlier speciation in that region which can be reasonably considered as the spreading centre of the genus.

Over thousands of years the clearance of woodland in Europe for agriculture, in particular grain production, would have created new habitat and therefore increased its range into Western Europe.