Grey Partridge

Key Facts

  • Family groups known as coveys
  • Nest in shallow scrape on ground lined with grass and leaves
  • 10-20 eggs, 1 brood, April – June
Scientific Name: Perdix perdix
Number in Britain: 37,000 breeding territories
Conservation Status:
in UK Red
in Europe Least Concern
Globally Least Concern

This small grey/brown gamebird is on the red data book due to its serious decline in the past fifty years.

Although considered to be a lowland arable species there are in fact good populations on the moorland fringe in the north of England and we have some on both sites. In the uplands they survive on a mix of grasses and seeds, however, we supplement that rather poor food supply with grain to keep them in better condition for the winter months.

The bird is only some 12 inches long and in keeping with most game birds lays large clutches of eggs to mitigate predation. The nest in on the ground hidden in the grass as a rule and may contain well into the teens of eggs, 16/18 is not unheard of although 10/12 is more common.

Both parents care for the young and there are few better parents in the avian world than the grey partridge. The young eat insects for some time especially ants if they can find them.

We are currently working with GWCT to gain a better understanding of this bird’s requirement in the uplands.