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Partridge facts for kids

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Partridges (Perdicinae)
Grey partridge (Perdix perdix)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Family: Phasianidae
Horsfield, 1821
Subfamily: Perdicinae
Horsfield, 1821

The Partridge is a medium sized bird. They are known as game birds because they are hunted and eaten by humans. They are in the Pheasant family (Phasianidae).

Partridges are in the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas". The line "...and a Partridge in a pear tree" is sung.

Color and shape

Most partridges are brown, gray and white. They are camouflaged and difficult to see. They have short legs and short bills. Partridges are smaller than Pheasants but they are bigger than Quails.

Partridges can not fly very well and they do not migrate. This means they always stay in the same area all year round.


Partridges live in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. They live in places such as moors, grassland and farmland. They feed mostly on seeds, and nest on the ground. This means their nests are not very safe from predators such as foxes. Partridges use their camouflage to make it difficult for predators to see them and their nests.


Species such as the grey partridge and the red-legged partridge are popular as game birds, and are often reared in captivity and released for the purpose of hunting. For the same reason, they have been introduced into large areas of North America.

Red-legged Partridge
Red-legged partridge.
Chestnut-bellied Partridge RWD2
Chestnut-bellied partridge.
Scaly-breasted Partridge
Scaly-Breasted Partridge.

Cultural references

Birds of Hindustan luchas, called būqalamūn, and partridges
Birds of Persia luchas, called būqalamūn (بوقلمون turkey in Persian), and partridges

According to Greek legend, the first partridge appeared when Daedalus threw his nephew, Perdix, off the sacred hill of Athena in a fit of jealous rage. Supposedly mindful of his fall, the bird does not build its nest in the trees, nor take lofty flights and avoids high places.

A famous reference to the partridge is in the Christmas carol, "The Twelve Days of Christmas". The first gift listed is "a partridge in a pear tree", and these words end each verse. Since partridges are unlikely to be seen in pear-trees (they are ground-nesting birds) it has been suggested that the text "a pear tree" is a corruption of the French "une perdrix".

The partridge has also been used as a symbol that represents Kurdish nationalism. It is called Kew. Sherko Kurmanj discusses the paradox of symbols in Iraq as an attempt to make a distinction between the Kurds and the Arabs. He says that while Iraqis generally regards the palm tree, falcon, and sword as their national symbols, the Kurds consider the oak, partridge, and dagger as theirs.

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