The Kennedy Wild Bird Food Guide to the Grey Partridge

The grey partridge (also known as the English partridge) is a large bird that unfortunately has Red List conservation status in the UK. In this guide, we take a look at some of the most interesting grey partridge facts, and what exactly you can do to help this beautiful bird.

What does a grey partridge look like?

Measuring a length of around 30cm and a wingspan of 46cm, this distinct bird is a brown chestnut and grey colour. It is easily identifiable by its orange head, wing patches and the chestnut/orange tip on its tail.

Male grey partridges are easily identified by the chestnut horseshoe marking on their chest, which is a lot less common and less noticeable in females. 

Grey partridge guide uk

Image source: kkoshy on Flickr

The grey partridge’s call

A grey partridge is also easily identifiable by its call, which you’ll likely hear first thing in the morning or last thing at night. If you think you’ve heard a grey partridge but aren’t sure, have a listen to the clip below.

What does the grey partridge eat?

Unlike many other birds of its size, the grey partridge eats a strict diet consisting of leaves, seeds and insects. They love our economy grade peanut for birds, which are also favoured by other garden birds including tits, finches and woodpeckers!

Grey partridge bird facts

  • Sadly, their numbers have declined by 80% over the last 30 years.

  • The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust is working across the UK to creative conservation headlands in order half the declining number of grey partridges. 
  • The grey partridge loves to do things differently. It’s strictly a ground bird, meaning you won’t find it darting between trees. However, due to its ground-bird status, numbers have been declining significantly over the years as a result of agricultural intensification. 
  • A grey partridge’s egg size can be anywhere from 3.2 – 3.7cm in length, with 10 to 22 legs laid during one single brood. 
  • The grey partridge’s scientific name is Perdix perdix, which is derived from the Latin word for partridge.

Where can I spot a grey partridge?

In the UK, you’ll be able to spot a grey partridge in lowland areas, from the South coast up to the Eastern corners of Scotland. The grey partridge is a resident in many areas of the UK, but you’ll be hard pushed to find one in Wales, the South Western tip of England and Northern Ireland.

If you spot a grey partridge near you, don’t forget to log it on our Birdspotter tool for others to see.

bird spotter map