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Perdix Perdix !


Gray Partridge Perdix perdix (Linnaeus)

Family Phasianidae

In Greece there are 3 partridges, Alectoris Graega (e non Chukar), Alectoris Chukar and Perdix perdix (gray). Alectoris Graega is a partridge that looks similar to a chukar. Alectroris Graega (e non Chukar) is shown above and lives only in Greece. Graega inhabits mountainous terrain up to 1000 -2300 meters. Graega is the biggest partridge. It has many differences, sound, inhabit, color, and head compared to the other partridges.

Status,Europe in Reduction . In USA introduced. Uncommon local resident. Breeds. These birds, commonly called "huns" or "Hungarian partridges," were first brought to Nova Scotia by a group of Halifax sportsmen, headed by the late R.B. Willis, who imported them from Czechoslovakia in the spring of 1926. On 7 April of that year 40 pairs were liberated near Elderbank. Halifax County, and later that month 20 pairs were released near Nappan, Cumberland County. A number of broods were seen, and soon other importations followed. On 1 November 1927, Chief Justice R.E. Harris liberated ten pairs near his home in Clementsport, Annapolis County; and the following spring, on 23 March, twenty pairs were released on the Perkins Farm near Shubenacadie, Hants County. On 28 March 1928, John W. Piggott liberated 10 pairs on his farm at Bridgetown and at least some of these nested successfully that year. On 31 March 1934, the Kings County Fish and Game Association imported a shipment from England, placing 27 birds at New Minas and 20 at Lakeville. Notable local increases occurred and reports indicated the birds were spreading satisfactorily. By 1940 an open season (October 15-31) was granted by the province; it has remained open for a period each fall since then. In the Annapolis Valley they appeared to reach their population peak from 1940-44. In recent years most reports have come from the Wolfville/Canning area of Kings County, although smaller numbers have been seen elsewhere in the Annapolis Valley and around Economy, Colchester County.

Description Length: 30-35 cm. Adult male: Upperparts finely marked with black, browns and grays, becoming more rufous on lower back; throat and sides of head rich buff; a conspicuous chestnut-brown patch on underparts at junction of breast and belly; breast gray, finely pencilled with black; flanks barred with chestnut. Adult female: Similar but tones duller and sometimes showing no patch on underparts or only a trace of it. The best mark by which the sexes can be separated is found on the crown. In the female the background is dark brown, profusely dotted with tear-shaped, light tan spots; in the male the ground colour is ashy or bluish gray and instead of spots the markings are fine, silk-like lines of pale straw or buff, becoming more pronounced on the nape. It must be borne in mind that these distinctions are valid only when examining adults; there is chance for confusion among immatures.

Breeding Nest: On the ground, well concealed in long grass or other protective vegetation and composed wholly of dry grass. Eggs: 15-27 or perhaps more; olive-buff, unmarked. Laying begins during the second half of May and only one brood is raised, but if the nest is lost there will usually be a second attempt. Two nests, both at North Grand Pre, Kings County, have been examined. On 14 June 1937 one contained 23 eggs, and on 27 June 1937 the other held 27. In both cases the birds were incubating, an indication that laying had been completed. Both parents care for the brood and remain with it until about the middle of March following, when the coveys break up and disperse.

Range Europe and west-central Asia; first brought to Canada about 1908 and liberated in Alberta. Nova Scotia introductions as described.

Remarks In USA .When coveys are seen following the nesting season, it is correct to assume that these are family groups. However, rarely there is a departure from this custom. On 12 February 1937, I was informed by a farmer that a "huge flock of huns" was feeding on the dykelands near his farm at North Grand Pre. Investigation revealed that this congregation numbered 250-300 birds. They were exceedingly wary, flushing at long range and flying a mile or more before alighting. The foregoing is the only instance of its kind in Nova Scotia that has come to my attention, but similar concentrations of huns have been recorded in Alberta. Concerning their food habits in winter, one with the appearance of a strong, healthy bird picked up dead by the roadside on 3 February 1948 the victim of an overhead wire had a full crop containing 142 wheat kernels, 28 barley kernels, 928 oat kernels and 235 pieces of quartz-like grit. Other stomach analyses have shown quantities of fine, tender green grass, evidently procured from warm, spring-fed bogs that remain open all winter. As evidence of the resourcefulness of this bird at times of food shortage, the following incident is recounted: at Avondale, Hants County, William Webb's two children, accompanied by the family dog, were trudging across farmlands covered with deep snow. They were startled when four Gray Partridges burst from the powdery depths like miniature bombs, one after the other in quick succession. A fifth while struggling to free itself was caught by the dog, which made short work of it. Later their father visited the spot and found numerous tunnels running in various directions. These, plus the amount of "droppings," provided evidence that the birds had been there for some time sheltered from inclement weather and natural enemies, and well provided with sustenance by the lush, green clover that appeared unaffected by its covering of snow. The bird killed by the dog had been plump and in good condition. This expedient may be practised by huns in winter more commonly than realized.

Hunting for Perdix There is no season for the gray partridge, however dog training is allowed on these birds.

Giorgio Peppas


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