Common Partridge Species In North America
Hungarian Partridge Chukar Redleg Partridge
Male Hungarian Partridge and and female Partridge are very similar in markings. If you look closely at the male partridge you should see a horseshoe shaped marking on the breast. The Males face and throat have tinges of brownish orange and the males breast is brushed with vains of a darker gray. In femaile partridge the breast is normally more of a solid grayish color and they will have a much less dominate horsehoe or U marking. According to some biologists the best way to tell female from male is the female has a forehead showing an excess of pear-shaped, buff spots and the male has, instead of specks, tiny, thin lines, of a pale flaxen or ocher color, which become more noticeable at the nape.
Hungarian partridge also known as the Gray Partridge or Hun closely resembles the grouse. These birds are hardy and love to travel in groups. They are very vocal birds and are also favorite additions to gamebird hunts. Their brown markings allow them to blend in to their surroundings well. These birds pair up and mate for life. Ideal habitat would consist of about 65% small grains, and the rest in short native grass around 2 feet in height. Small brushy bushes, often found on the edge of roads and fields make great wind barriers for the birds. Great for propagating small farms.
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Many of the game preserves listed in the gamebirdhunts.com directory offer partridge hunting as well as quality pheasant hunting.
Weight: males 14.0 oz; females 13.5 oz.
Flight speed: 30-40 mph.
Habitat: open landscapes of intense small grain and row crop agriculture.
Foods: waste grains and weed seeds.
Life expectancy: 70-90% annual mortality rate; few birds live to age 3.
Mating: monogamous; remain paired throughout the breeding season.
Nesting period: peak April-June; range April-August.
Nests: usually shallow, scratched-out depression in the ground lined with grass or leaves.
Clutch size: Ave. 16 eggs (range 10-20); first nests larger.
Young: precoccial; leave nest immediately and can make short flights at 12-14 days.
Nest success: Ave. 32%; range 10-67%.
Number broods per year: 1; persistent renester.
Fledge: young resemble adults at 16 weeks and remain with adults in coveys through fall and winter. Migration: none, year-round resident. Eggs: olive-buff; ovate (1 1/2" x 1 1/8").
Incubation: 23 days.
Hunting Hungarian Partridge
Ever since the invention of firearms, gray partridge have been an important gamebird in Europe. Beaters were often used to drive the birds toward shooters stationed at the ends of fields. It is interesting to note that during the 1700s, Germany had a "cocks only" season on partridge. As the birds flushed towards them, the shooters selected only those birds with the dark horseshoe mark on the lower breast. Since the horseshoe mark is not a reliable method of determining sex, the German hunters were obviously killing some hens, but this "cocks only" hunting season was used for many years.
Before a snowfall, hungarian partridge can be hunted in picked cornfields or open grassy areas in much the same way you would hunt for pheasants. Hungarian partridge are jumpy and will usually flush as a covey, at flush they often squak warning calls while the hunter is still 30 or more yards away. If the hunter is a good shot and is armed with a 12-gauge, full-choke shotgun he may be able to harvest a few partridge before they get out of range. After flying for several hundred yards, the partirdge covey will usually alight as a group on open ground. If the birds are followed up by the hunter, the covey will usually flush just before the hunter gets in range. If this tactic fails to discourage the hunter, the birds may eventually set down as singles in a grassy area or hayfield. Singles hold better than the coveys and may provide some excellent close-range shooting.
When there is snow on the ground, partridge are easier to locate but often more difficult to approach. Under these conditions, some hunters have found they can get closer to these wary birds if they are wearing white coveralls. Bird dogs are not essential for partridge hunting. A wide ranging dog will often flush the birds beyond gun range. However a well-disciplined dog that stays close can be very helpful for partridge hunting.
Chukar Redleg Partridge
The Chukar Redleg is a small flighty bird. Known for their flying ability and their zebra like stripes, they are a favorite addition to gamebird hunts. These birds hold well in cover and get up and go when flushed. These birds thrive in dry arid conditions; however, recently they have become a very popular additive to hunts looking to add speed to their hunts. These birds tend to run uphill and flush down hill often giving the hunters numerous chances. Habitat consists of small grains or brushy terrain. To hold the birds to the terrain a small stream or water source is necessary.