Birds – Red-legged Partridges

Quite different are the Red-legged Partridges (Caccabis), which to the number of eight or nine species range from western and southern Europe to eastern Asia. They may be known by their small size, which varies between twelve and sixteen inches, by the tail of fourteen feathers, and more particularly by having the sides and flanks transversely barred, in sharp contrast to the remainder of the lower plumage. One of the best-known is the common Red-legged or French Partridge (C. rufa) of central and southern Europe and the Canaries, where it is possibly introduced, as it was a century or more ago in England. They frequent especially the edges of fields, hedgerows, and grassy places, running with extreme rapidity and almost refusing to be flushed; but when they do rise, they fly straight and rapidly, and thus afford good sport. As is often the case among game birds, they are extremely pugnacious during the breeding season, fighting with other species as well as among them-selves. The nest is the usual slight hollow scratched in the ground, and the eggs are from ten to eighteen in number.