Hungarian partridge Hungarian partridge

The gray partridge is one of two partridge species introduced to Wyoming many decades ago as an additional upland game bird.

Fun Critter Facts

Smaller than grouse, but larger than quail, these birds (the other being the chukar) are favorite quarry for many of the state's upland bird hunters.
·         Gray partridge (Perdix perdix) are often referred to as Hungarian partridges, or "huns," a reference to a small portion of their native Eurasia.  Their Latin name literally means "Partridge partridge."  These covey forming game birds are experiencing declines throughout much of their native range due to a variety of reasons, but appear secure in Wyoming.  In the late 1990s, biologists from Ireland attempted to move some birds from Wyoming back to native range in Europe.
·         Populations of huns are cyclic and eruptive.  During years of high abundance they can be very numerous, especially in their strongholds east and west of the Bighorn Mountains.  Many other areas of Wyoming typically have lower densities of this bird.  In some cases, they are often thought to disappear entirely, and then Shazzam!, suddenly there are huns everywhere due to high nest success, very large broods, and apparently, a bit of magic.
·         In Wyoming, huns do best in areas of mixed cropland (especially grains and alfalfa) and native range, including sagebrush-grasslands.  They are often also associated with livestock feeding operations, especially in winter.  They are particularly fond of cultivated grains and greens, while young feed nearly 100% on insects during their first several weeks of life.  
·         Like most upland birds, huns nest on the ground.  Clutch size varies from <10 to >22-23!  Perfect weather and habitat conditions result in the latter.  Young hatch in 20-26 days, and are immediately able to follow the hen from the nest and feed themselves.
Huns fall victim to a number of predators in Wyoming, ranging from hawks, owls, skunks, weasels, foxes, and bobcats, to man and his bird dog.  Predation rates have little to do with overall population; brood size and survival of young drive numbers.   

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