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BTO Blueline
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BTO Blueline
Perdix perdix
Grey Partridge © Tommy Holden

• Population

• Productivity

• Additional

Conservation listings
Europe: SPEC category 3 (vulnerable)
UK: red (>50% population decline)
UK Biodiversity Action Plan: click here
Long-term trend
UK, England: rapid decline
UK population size
70,000–75,000 pairs in 2000 (1988–91 Atlas estimate updated using CBC/BBS trend: BiE04, APEP06)
Status summary
This species has declined enormously, probably because of the effects of agricultural intensification (specifically herbicides) on the food plants of young chicks' insect prey (Potts 1986). Despite years of research and the application of a government Biodiversity Action Plan (Aebischer & Ewald 2004), the continuing decline shown by CBC/BBS suggests that all efforts to boost the population have so far been unsuccessful. Local extinctions are now likely to be widespread, but masked in some areas by continuing releases of hand-reared birds onto shooting estates. Artificial rearing has increased since the mid 1980s, despite the failure of restocking as a means of restoring breeding numbers (see here), while releases of non-native gamebirds, which have increased greatly, can be detrimental to the native species. Infection with caecal nematodes from farm-reared Pheasants may be contributing to the decline of Grey Partridges in Britain (Tompkins et al. 2002).The practice of releasing Red-legged Partridges in large numbers can lead to Grey Partridge extinction, in part because shooters are unable to distinguish these two species (Watson et al. 2007): these authors conclude that overshooting has greater implications for Grey Partridge conservation than raptor predation. Grey Partridge is one of the most strongly decreasing bird species in Europe, with rapid declines evident in all regions (PECBMS 2009).
CBC/BBS UK graph

1967-2007: -89% (confidence interval -92% to -84%)

Population changes in detail
More on demographic trends
Additional information

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This report should be cited as: Baillie, S.R., Marchant, J.H., Leech, D.I., Joys, A.C., Noble, D.G., Barimore, C., Downie, I.S., Grantham, M.J., Risely, K. & Robinson, R.A. (2010). Breeding Birds in the Wider Countryside: their conservation status 2009.
BTO Research Report No. 541. BTO, Thetford. (http://www.bto.org/birdtrends)

Pages maintained by Iain Downie, Mandy T Andrews and Laura Smith: Last updated 18.01.2010