Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa (Linnaeus, 1758)

Order: Galliformes Family: Phasianidae Status: Breeding in Madeira

Red-legged Partridge
Alectoris rufa
Red-legged Partridge

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Red-legged Partridge Field ID Keys

Shape & Size

Medium-sized bulky game bird with straight stiff wings.

Colour Pattern

Pale brown upperparts with black, brown and blue-grey barred flanks. It has a striped fore-neck with a black line around its whitish chin. Its bill and legs are red.


It is typically seen in family groups though it is a quite elusive species. Despite its bright colours it easily camouflages on dry or barren soils.


This partridge species prefers dry and open areas but also grassy cliffs.

Distinction from similar species

Red-legged partridge differs from Rock Partridge and Chukar by its extensive black striped neck and spotted upper breast and sides of neck though in Madeira only the Red-legged Partridge is resident.

Alectoris rufa Biometrics

Wingspan: 47 - 50 cm (Beaman & Madge, 2011)
Total length: 32 - 34 cm (Beaman & Madge, 2011)
Weight: 400 - 550 g (Hume, 2002)

Other Bird Facts

Seasonality in Madeira: All year
Breeding: Makes its nest in holes scrapped on ground beneath low but dense vegetation. Lays 7 to 20 eggs in a single early brood between April and June
Diet: Feeds on leaves, shoots, seeds and berries.


Madeira local status by Correia-Fagundes et al, 2021: Common breeding bird
Madeira local status by Romano et al, 2010: Common breeding bird
Madeira local status by Zino et al, 1995: Common breeding bird
Conservation status by the IUCN Red List Categories, 2013: Least Concern ver 3.1

Name of this species in other languages

Portuguese: Perdiz-vermelha, Perdiz-comum
German: Rothuhn
Dutch: Rode Patrijs
Swedish: Rödhöna
Danish: Rødhøne
Finish: Punapyy
Norwegian: Rødhøne
Spanish: Perdiz Roja
French: Perdrix rouge
Italian: Pernice rossa
Polish: Góropatwa czerwona
Slovak: Kuropta červená
Czech: Orebice rudá

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