December 11, 2013

Wildlife Wednesday- Christmas Edition (The Partridge)

It’s Wednesday and that means it is time for another edition of Wildlife Wednesday. With Christmas right around the corner and Holiday cheer filling the air, it only seems fit that I create a Christmas inspired Wildlife Wednesday. From now until the end of December I will be choosing my wildlife subjects based on popular Christmas songs.
On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a partridge in a pear tree.

The Chukar Partidge
Picture Credit: Google Images

The Gray Partridge
Picture Credit: Google Images

In 1889 the partridge was introduced in the United States as a game bird. It belongs to the family Phasianidae and the order Galliformes.They are game birds related to the pheasants and peacocks. Most people consider these birds quail, but the partridge is actually bigger, has stronger feet and a stronger beak than the quail. There are many different types of partridges, in different colors, with different markings, but aside from the color of their plumage every partridge looks the same. They are medium in size, occasionally they glide through the air but more often they fly with whirring wings. They are strictly ground birds, never likely to be found in pear trees! They travel in groups of 6 to 15; these groups are known as coveys. They were once widespread but have recently undergone a serious decline, causing the species to become a part of the Red List Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The most common partridges are the grey partridge, the Chukar, and the Crested Wood Partridge.
The Gray Partridge has a reddish face and tail, barred sides, and a dark U shape on its underbelly. This partridge is about one foot long with dark-gray plumage. Like many of these birds the grey partridge male and female look the same. They are found in western Canada, Oregon, California, Montana, Wisconsin, and Iowa. Another notable partridge is the chukar partridge, this fowl is similar in appearance to the grey partridge—about 12 inches (30 cm) long, with dark-gray plumage above, lighter plumage below, and markings of brown and black. The Chukar is from India and Manchuria. . It is a popular game bird in California, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, and Colorado. This partridge has a black line through the eye, a brown back, barred sides, and a black outlined whitish throat.
The Crested Wood Partridge or Rollulus roulroul is from Malaysia. More magnificent in color than its counterparts, the crested wood partridge has a blue-green iridescent body, red feet, red feathers around the eyes, and a crimson chest.
Partridges feed on grain and other seeds and on insects. Their shallow, grass-lined nests are built on the ground, where they are concealed by tall grass or other vegetation. The female lays from 6 to 20 eggs, according to the species. The eggs of some species are plain white or cream-colored. In other species, the eggs may be blotched or speckled with brown or lavender.


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