Red-Legged Partridge

Alectoris rufa


  • Order : Galliformes
  • Family : Phasianidae
  • Genus : Alectoris
  • Species : rufa

Binomial name

  • Linnaeus, 1758


  • Size : 38 cm
  • Wingspan : 47 to 50 cm
  • Weight : 391 to 514 g



XC : Stanislas Wroza

The calls and songs of the Red-legged Partridge are not easily transcribed phonetically. The best is to refer to the recordings on the site xeno-canto

To learn more.




The Red-legged Partridge is larger and more colorful than its cousin the Gray Partridge. From a distance, the adult appears as a large warm brown bird with a distinctive head. Its four-colored head is indeed remarkable. The beak and the turn of the eye are red-coral. The throat and the white cheeks are surrounded by black. Two white bands go from the forehead to the nape of the neck over the eyes. They border an earth colored top band. The neck and the top of the chest are spotted with black and white. The lower part of the breast is light grey and the belly is russet brown. The flanks are clearly vertically barred. The legs are red. The sexes are similar, the male is simply stronger than the female.
The wings, short and robust, allow a powerful and fast vibrating flight, even if the bird prefers to flee the danger by running. The legs are indeed rather long and strong and particularly well adapted to the walk in open and uneven ground.


The red-legged partridge lives in dry, open or semi-open, cultivated or uncultivated environments, often on slopes. It can be found in the following environments: scrubland, bushy lawns, shrubby uncultivated slopes, dry meadows, crops, vineyards, wastelands, limestone or sandy moors, plantations, linear edges, etc. The Mediterranean climate is particularly suitable for it. It avoids the closed forest environment as well as the wetlands.

Threat – protection

The species is not considered threatened at the moment. Nevertheless, in relation to its historical distribution, it has disappeared from Brittany, western and southern Switzerland or the Rhineland in Germany. Hunting is locally an important parameter in the demography of the species, for example in Portugal. The fragmentation of the available habitat by cultivation or urbanization also plays a negative role.

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