These are medium-sized partridges with dull-coloured bills and legs, streaked brown upperparts, and rufous tails and flanks barring. Neither sex has spurs on the legs, and the only plumage distinction is that females tend to be duller in appearance.
Grey and Daurian Partridges are very closely related and similar in appearance, and form a superspecies. Tibetan Partridge has a striking black and white face pattern, black breast barring and 16 tail feathers instead of the 18 of the other species.
None of the species is threatened on a global scale, but the two more widespread partridges are over-hunted in parts of their range. The Grey Partridge has been badly affected by agricultural changes, and its range has contracted considerably.
The Tibetan Partridge seems secure in its extensive and often inaccessible range on the Tibetan plateau.
- Grey Partridge, Perdix perdix
- Italian Grey Partridge, Perdix perdix italica - extinct (c.1990); validity doubtful
- Daurian Partridge, Perdix dauurica
- Tibetan Partridge, Perdix hodgsoniae
A prehistoric species only known from fossils was described as Perdix palaeoperdix. Occurring all over southern Europe during the Early - Late Pleistocene, it was a favorite food of the Cro-Magnons and Neanderthals. The relationships between the prehistoric species and the Grey Partridge are somewhat obscure; while very similar, they might be better understood as sister species rather than the Grey Partridge evolving from the Pleistocene taxon.
- Madge, Steve; McGowan, Philip J. K. & Kirwan, Guy M. (2002): Pheasants, partidges and grouse : a guide to the pheasants, partridges, quails, grouse, guineafowl, buttonquails and sandgrouse of the world. Christopher Helm, London. ISBN 0-7136-3966-0
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