Grey Partridge – Historical records

COMMON PARTRIDGE – Perdix perdix perdix

Ice Age

Bones of Grey Partridge, dating to just before and just after the maximum of the Last Glaciation, 22,000 years ago, have been discovered at two caves in Pembrokeshire: Hoyle’s Mouth and Little Hoyle.

Eastham A. (2016) Goosey goosey Gander with Jemima Shelduck in attendance: two Stone Age occupation caves in South Pembrokeshire. Pembrokeshire Historical Society.


17th Century – Owen listed it as breeding in his ‘Description of Pembrokeshire (1603).

In 1889 1,273 birds were shot at Stackpole Court (Matheson 190)


All of the following records and comments were collected by Graham Rees and have been transcribed from his files.

1889 – 80 shot Stackpole Estate, (Box I-239)

1890 – 101 shot Stackpole Estate, (Box I-239)

1908 – “I seen a P on the watering, the first I have seen on the island” Diary of Ivor Arnold, vide R.Howe11s,1968

1924 – Caldey: “An occasional covey is met with, but the bird is not a permanent resident. Attempts have been made to reintroduce it from time to time, but have failed through the neamess of the mainland, to which the birds are apt to fly if disturbed, when they fail to return.”  Wintle 1924.


The following (1925-35) are extracts from Bertram Lloyd’s diaries: 

1925 – 25 Dec.3, Pennar Farm;  “seen” Litt1e Haven, 1 July

1927 – 13, Jan: “On the moors above Newport(at about 600 ft.) a flock of 6 not a common bird here, for these are the first I’ve seen in a month” However, several near St, David’ s, 17, 18 & 27, Feb.  21 June: “Some near Treglemais.”

1928 – 20 May: “Scanty here, A pair near Kilpaison” (NB probably ‘here’ refers to a visit to the Angle area)

1929 – 18 May: A few about, Castle Martin area, more pairs in Stackpole and district owing to Lord Cawdor’s game preserving habits.

1929 – 30, May: A few seen around St, David’s as usual.

1930 – 28 April: Angle Bay: A good many pairs about; seemingly much commoner in the district than of yore, I’ve noticed,”

1930 – 8 July: “Pair with newly hatched chicks,on cliffs near Jefferston Wells,

1935 – 11 Sept: 3 near Hayscastle, were the first I’ve seen anywhere during this tour.  A pretty uncommon species in the county.


1947 – Common resident in Parish of Dale up to 1934, nearly extint after the Feb/Mar 1947 frost (Barrett, 1959)

1956 – Caldey: Attempts to introduce this species have failed as the birds invariably fly back to the adjacent mainland, stray coveys are occasionally seen however. B.L.Sage, Nature in Wales Vol 2, No 4

1963 – 10, Little Haven, 14 , Dec, Nature in Wales Vol 9, No 1

1965 – 1 Ramsey 29 Apl, Nature in Wales Vol 9, No 1

1965 – Pair present, Terfwrdan Isaf, nr Nevern, Mar-April “This species is far less common in Pembs than previously” Margaret Patterson, Nature in Wales Vol 9, No 3

1970 – 2, Stackpole ca 1970 (H.Garlide)

1970 – Bred at Rhosddu, Crymych, 1970 & 1971 (M A Bowen)

1971 – 24 May, Hodgeston Pembs, 2 together in lane, H E Grenfell

1971 – Max 18 wintered Moylegrove Farm Sept (Margaret Patterson)

1976 – Resident Breeder.  Decreased since Mathew’s time.  Saunders 1976

More about the Grey Partridge in Pembrokeshire