Also known as the Gray or English Partridge, the Hungarian Partridge is one of two species of partridge raised in North America. Imported to North America from Hungary, these partridges were originally introduced to Washington and California in the nineteenth century. They were released for hunting purposes and now have a large range in the northern United States and Canada. They remain a very popular upland game bird. They are typically found in a flock of 10 to 15 birds.
The Hungarian Partridge has a reddish-brown face and throat, grayish-brown back, gray flanks, and chest. They also have a chestnut-colored horseshoe mark on their white belly. Wings are brown with white vertical barring and a chestnut tail. Males and females are very similar in color, though males tend to be more vibrant.
Range: The Hungarian Partridge is distributed worldwide, including Europe and Asia. Hungarian Partridges are also located along the border between the United States and Canada.
Habitat: The Hungarian Partridge prefers grasslands, brush, and agricultural fields.
Status in the wild: Conservation status classified as Least Concern.
Status in Aviculture: The Hungarian Partridge is very common in aviculture, including small breeders and game bird farms.
Breeding and Incubation: The breeding season lasts from April to September. Hungarian Partridges will breed their first year and are monogamous. Due to their aggressive nature during the breeding season, pairs will need to be separated. Nests are made from a scrape in the ground lined with grass. The average clutch size is 16 to 18 eggs, which incubate for 24 days.
Lifespan: The Hungarian Partridge will live between 3 and 5 years.
Mature Weight: Males and females average 12 to 16 ounces.
Housing Requirements: The Hungarian Partridge is extremely cold hardy. Their natural flock instinct is to roost in a circle to create and preserve heat. 12 square feet per pair is the minimum aviary size recommendation. It is recommended to keep birds on a wire floor in wet regions.
Diet (wild and commercial): In the wild, the Hungarian Partridge primarily eats seeds and cultivated grains, such as barley, wheat, or oats. Juveniles will eat insects such as crickets, ants, and grasshoppers. Game bird feed is suitable in captivity.