Common Name
GRAY (HUNGARIAN) PARTRIDGE

Scientific Name
PERDIX PERDIX

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Photo by Unknown Photographer
Photo Courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

The Hungarian partridge, Perdix perdix, is also known as the hun, European partridge, and European gray partridge.

Both sexes average from 12 to 14 inches including a tail about 3.5 inches long. Average weight is 12 to 13 ounces. Gray is the predominant color. Head, back, and breast are varying shades of gray; the gray on the back is more brownish. The sides are heavily barred with dark chestnut. The tail feathers are reddish-brown and very conspicuous in flight. Adult males have a prominent chestnut-colored horseshoe marking on the breast. On adult females and the young of both sexes, the horseshoe marking is less defined.

It is generally found in grassland or mixed sage and grass adjacent to cultivated lands. It occupies open rangeland in some high mountain valleys.

Birds begin to pair during February and nesting may begin anytime after mid-April. The nest is a shallow depression, usually located in dead grass or weeds. Between 10 and 16 olive-colored eggs are laid at a rate of about two every three days. The eggs hatch after an incubation period of about 24 days. The male does not assist with incubation but does aid the female in care of the young.

Waste grains, weed and grass seeds, green vegetation, and insects are primary food items. Large quantities of insects are taken during the summer. The diet of young chicks may be almost entirely insects.

The Hungarian partridge is a native of eastern Europe and western Asia. In 1911, the Fish and Game Department brought 120 huns from Canada and released them in Cache, Salt Lake, Sevier, Tooele, Utah, Washington and Weber counties. More releases were made in 1917, 1923, 1925, 1938 and 1939. All of these attempts failed. Present populations of northern and western Utah probably resulted from established populations in Idaho and Nevada. It is an excellent game bird but the small area of suitable range limits its potential in Utah. Annual hunts have been held since 1955.

Sources:

  • Text modified from: Rawley, E. V., W. J. Bailey, D. L. Mitchell, J. Roberson, and J. Leatham. 1996. Utah upland game. Publication number 63-12. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Salt Lake City.

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