Grey Partridge – 1994

Perdix perdixPetrisenArtificially maintained

Breeding confirmed6
Breeding probable1
Breeding possible1
No of tetrads occupied8 (of 478)
Percentage of tetrads1.7%

Mathew (1894) knew the Grey Partridge as a fairly common resident, commonest in the south of the county. The game bag returns for the Stackpole Estate puts some measure on this, for 80 were shot in 1889 and 101 in 1890. Wintle (1924) recorded an occasional covey on Caldey Island and noted periodic releases there. Lloyd’s diaries for 1925 to 1936 refer to the Grey Partridge as being a “pretty uncommon species” in Pembrokeshire except on the Castle Martin peninsula, which he attributed to “Lord Cawdor’s game preserving habits”. Lockley et al. (1949) noted a decrease “due to the use of rabbit gin traps”. They also noted that Grey Partridges had occasionally nested on Ramsey Island. Lockley (1961) stated that they had become a scarce resident in the south-west peninsula and several observers commented on a continued decline in the county into the 1970s.

The Grey Partridge has declined nationally since the introduction of pesticides, which reduce the availability of insect food, so vital at the chick stage. Very few, usually single birds or small coveys, were seen in Pembrokeshire during the 1980s to early 1990s, although breeding was noted at Hendre Eynon in 1984. Most reports were accompanied by a note that they had been introduced, in localities as far apart as Llanfyrnach in the north and Caldey Island in the south. Recent releases have favoured Red-legged Partridges rather than this species, for which the future in Pembrokeshire looks bleak.

Donovan J.W. & Rees G.H, 1994, Birds of Pembrokeshire

LLOYD, B. 1925—1939. Diaries. National Library of Wales.

LOCKLEY R. M. 1961. The south-west peninsula. Nature in Wales 7: 124-133

WINTLE, W.J. 1924. Some Caldey birds Pax 71:133-139

More about the Grey Partridge in Pembrokeshire