Tibetan partridge

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Tibetan partridge
Perdix hodgsoniae John Gould.jpg
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Family: Phasianidae
Genus: Perdix
P. hodgsoniae
Binomial name
Perdix hodgsoniae
(Hodgson, 1857)

The Tibetan partridge (Perdix hodgsoniae) is a gamebird in the pheasant family Phasianidae of the order Galliformes. They are found widely across the Tibetan Plateau and have some variations in plumage across populations. They forage on the ground in the sparsely vegetated high altitude regions, moving in pairs during the summer and in larger groups during the non-breeding season. Neither males nor females have spurs on their legs.



Somewhat different in appearance from the other Perdix species such as the grey and Daurian partridges this 28–31 cm long partridge has the brown back, blackish belly patch and chestnut flanks of its relatives, but has a striking black and white face pattern, which contrasts with the rufous collar.

The forehead, broad supercilium, face and throat are white. A broad black stripe runs down the face from below the eyes and it has a broad chestnut hind neck collar. The upper parts are buff, barred with rufous and black. The other tail-feathers are chestnut, tipped with white. The lower plumage is pale buff closely barred with black, with broad chestnut bars on the flanks. The male has a black belly patch which is barred in the female. The female is otherwise similar to the male but duller, and the juvenile is a featureless buff-brown, lacking the distinctive facial and underpart markings of the adult. Sexes are similar in size. [2] [3]

Tibetan partridge (Ladakh, India). 20170228 0886 HemisNP Perdrix de Hodgson.jpg
Tibetan partridge (Ladakh, India).

Taxonomy and systematics

Illustration accompanying the species description Sacpha Hodgson.jpg
Illustration accompanying the species description

The scientific name of Sacfa hodgsoniae was given by Brian Houghton Hodgson to commemorate his first wife, Anne Scott. [4] The original genus proposed by Hodgson was based on the Tibetan name for it, Sakpha. [5] There are 16 tail feathers while most other Perdix species have 18. Neither males nor females have spurs on their legs. [6] Phylogenetic studies place the species as basal within the genus. [7] There are three subspecies differing mainly in the plumage becoming darker further east: [8] [9]

Distribution and status

This partridge breeds on the Tibetan plateau in Tibet itself, Northern Pakistan via Kashmir into northwestern Indian, northern parts of Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan, and western China. The Tibetan partridge appears to be secure in its extensive and often inaccessible range on the Tibetan Plateau. [1]

Behaviour and ecology

It is found on mountain slopes and high meadows with some Rhododendron bushes, dwarf juniper or other scrubs for cover, typically between 3,600 and 4,250 m (11,800–14,000 ft). Despite its striking appearance, the head and breast pattern provide good cryptic camouflage in its rocky habitat. It is a non-migratory terrestrial species, but moves to lower altitude desert plains in winter, and may ascend to the snowline in summer. This is a seed-eating species, but the young in particular take insects as an essential protein supply.

The Tibetan partridge forms flocks of 10-15 birds outside the breeding season, which tend to run rather than fly. When disturbed sufficiently, like most of the game birds it flies a short distance on rounded wings, the flock scattering noisily in all directions before gliding downhill to regroup.

In summer beginning around mid-March the birds pair up to form monogamous bonds with the pair staying close together. The nest site varies from bare rocky plateau with few stunted bushes and tufts of coarse grass to small thorny scrub or even standing crops. Nests tend to be close to paths. The nest is a grass-lined depression, sometimes devoid of any lining. The typical clutch is 8-10 brownish-buff eggs and is laid during May to June. The male assists in looking after the young. [4] [9] [10] [11]

The usual call heard mainly in the mornings is a rattling scherrrrreck- scherrrrreck , and the flight call is a shrill chee chee chee. [12]

In Lhasa these partridges appeared to prefer stream belts with scrub and in winter they preferred south-facing slopes and open fields. They sometimes rest under bushes in the day and roost under dense scrub at higher elevation slopes in the night. They form pairs during the breeding season and after the breeding season form larger groups. [13]

Related Research Articles


Partridges are medium-sized non-migratory birds, with a wide native distribution throughout Europe, Asia, and parts of Africa. They are sometimes grouped in the Perdicinae subfamily of the Phasianidae. However, molecular research suggests that partridges are not a distinct taxon within the family Phasianidae, but that some species are closer to the pheasants, while others are closer to the junglefowl.

Grey partridge Species of bird

The grey partridge, also known as the English partridge, Hungarian partridge, or hun, is a gamebird in the pheasant family Phasianidae of the order Galliformes, gallinaceous birds. The scientific name is the Latin for "partridge", and is itself derived from Ancient Greek perdix.

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Rufous-tailed scrub robin

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Black francolin Species of bird

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Pin-tailed sandgrouse Species of bird

The pin-tailed sandgrouse is a medium large bird in the sandgrouse family. It has a small, pigeon like head and neck and a sturdy, compact body. It has long pointed wings, which are white underneath, a long tail and a fast direct flight. Flocks fly to watering holes at dawn. The call is a loud kattar-kattar. This gregarious species breeds on dry open treeless plains and similar habitats. Its nest is a ground scrape into which two or three cream-coloured eggs with cryptic markings are laid. Both sexes incubate the eggs.

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<i>Perdix</i> Genus of birds

Perdix is a genus of Galliform gamebirds known collectively as the 'true partridges'. These birds are unrelated to the subtropical species that have been named after the partridge due to similar size and morphology.

Snow partridge Species of bird

The snow partridge is a gamebird in the pheasant family Phasianidae found widely distributed across the high-altitude Himalayan regions of India, Pakistan, Nepal and China. It is the only species within its genus. The species is found in alpine pastures and open hillside above the treeline but not in as bare rocky terrain as the Himalayan snowcock and is not as wary as that species. Males and females look similar in plumage but males have a spur on their tarsus.

Yellow-legged buttonquail Species of bird

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Yellow-throated sparrow

The yellow-throated sparrow or chestnut-shouldered petronia is a species of sparrow found in southern Asia.

Painted francolin Species of bird

The painted francolin or painted partridge is a species of francolin found in grassy areas in central and southern India and in the lowlands of southeastern Sri Lanka. They are easily detected by their loud calls especially during the breeding season. Thomas C. Jerdon noted that the species was found mainly in Central India south of the Narmada and to the east of the Western Ghats as well as the Chota Nagpur and Northern Circars. It can be confused only with the black francolin with which it partly overlaps and is said to sometimes hybridize. This species can be told apart from the female of a black francolin by the lack of a rufous hind collar and the white spots on the underside. The face is rufous and there is no dark stripe running behind the eye.

Chestnut-bellied sandgrouse Species of bird

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Tibetan snowcock Species of bird

The Tibetan snowcock is a bird in the pheasant family Phasianidae of the order Galliformes, gallinaceous birds. This species is found in high-altitude regions of the Western Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau, where it overlaps in part with the larger Himalayan snowcock. The head is greyish and there is a white crescent patch behind the eye and underside is white with black stripes. In flight the secondaries show a broad white trailing edge.

Himalayan snowcock Species of bird

The Himalayan snowcock is a snowcock in the pheasant family Phasianidae found across the Himalayan ranges and parts of the adjoining Pamir range of Asia. It is found on alpine pastures and on steep rocky cliffs where they will dive down the hill slopes to escape. It overlaps with the slightly smaller Tibetan snowcock in parts of its wide range. The populations from different areas show variations in the colouration and about five subspecies have been designated. They were introduced in the mountains of Nevada in the United States in the 1960s and a wild population has established in the Ruby Mountains.

Chestnut-necklaced partridge Species of bird

The chestnut-necklaced partridge is a species of bird in the family Phasianidae. It is found in forests in the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra and Borneo. It is threatened by habitat loss and trapping. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has assessed it as vulnerable.

Tibetan eared pheasant Species of bird

The Tibetan eared pheasant, also called Elwes' eared pheasant, is a species of bird in the family Phasianidae found in southeast Tibet and adjacent northern India, usually between 3,000 and 5,000 m elevation, but has been seen down to 2,280 m (7,500 ft) in winter.

Crestless fireback Species of bird

The crestless fireback is a species of bird in the family Phasianidae. It is found in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests. It is threatened by habitat destruction and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has assessed its conservation status as being "vulnerable".

White-browed tit-warbler Songbird of the mountains of Tibet and China

The white-browed tit-warbler is a species of bird in the family Aegithalidae. The species was first described by Nikolai Severtzov in 1873. It is resident in the Tian Shan and central China as well as in the Himalayas where it is mainly found in winter. Its natural habitat is boreal forests.


  1. 1 2 BirdLife International (2012). "Perdix hodgsoniae". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species . 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2013.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  2. Oates, EW (1898). A manual of the Game birds of India. Part 1. A J Combridge, Bombay. pp. 191–194.
  3. Rasmussen PC & JC Anderton (2005). Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide. Volume 2. Smithsonian Institution & Lynx Edicions. p. 121.
  4. 1 2 Hume, AO (1890). The nests and eggs of Indian Birds. Volume 3 (2nd ed.). R H Porter, London. pp. 438–439.
  5. Hodgson, B.H. (1856). "On a new Perdicine bird from Tibet". Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal: 165–166.
  6. Blanford WT (1898). Fauna of British India. Birds. Volume 4. Taylor and Francis, London. pp. 142–143.
  7. Xin-kang Bao; Nai-fa Liu; Jiang-yong Qu; Xiao-li Wang; Bei An; Long-ying Wen; Sen Song (2010). "The phylogenetic position and speciation dynamics of the genus Perdix (Phasianidae, Galliformes)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 56 (2): 840–847. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2010.03.038. PMID   20363341.
  8. Hartert, E (1921–22). Die Vögel der paläarktischen Fauna. Volume 3. Friedlander and Sohn, Berlin. pp. 1936–1938.
  9. 1 2 Baker, ECS (1928). Fauna of British India. Birds. Volume 5 (2nd ed.). Taylor and Francis, London. pp. 423–426.
  10. Lu X, Gong G, Ren C (2003). "Reproductive Ecology of Tibetan Partridge Perdix hodgsoniae in Lhasa Mountains, Tibet". Journal of the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology. 34 (2): 270–278. doi: 10.3312/jyio1952.34.270 .
  11. Hume AO & CHT Marshall (1880). The Game birds of India, Burmah and Ceylon. Self published. pp. 65–68.
  12. Ali, S & SD Ripley (1980). Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan. Volume 2 (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press, New Delhi. pp. 35–36.
  13. Lu X, Ciren S (2002). "Habitat Selection and Flock Size of Tibetan Partridge Perdix hodgsoniae during Autumn-Winter". Journal of the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology. 33 (2): 168–175. doi: 10.3312/jyio1952.33.168 .