Red-legged Partridge (Alectoris rufa) - Wiki
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[Photo] Red-legged Partridge, Alectoris rufa with young. Date 20 June 2007. Photo by http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Benjah-bmm27 (License: public domain)
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.
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. 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.
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-syllabled ka-chu-chu.
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 eyering.
The crown and upper nape of adult Red-legged Partridge are a warm pinkish-brown; the forecrown and lateral edges of the crown are pale blue-grey, and the bird has a narrow offwhite 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.
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 offwhite in front of each bar, and pale grey behind.
The upperparts are plain, unmarked dark sandy-grey. The uppertail-coverts are similar in colour, and contrast with the pinkish-rufous tail-feathers.
The bill is bright red, the iris is medium brown, and the legs are pinkish-red.
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