Red-legged partridge

Red-legged partridge

©Margaret Holland

Red-legged partridges

©Amy Lewis

Red-legged partridge

Scientific name: Alectoris rufa
A plump gamebird, the red-legged partridge is an introduced species that seems to have settled here with little problem. It can be spotted in its favoured open scrub and farmland habitats.

Species information


Length: 33-36cm
Wingspan: 57cm
Weight: 400-500g
Average lifespan: est. 3-5 years

Conservation status

Introduced, non-native species.

When to see

January to December


A plump, round bird, the red-legged partridge is common on farmland, where it feeds on seeds, leaves and small invertebrates. When disturbed, it prefers to run instead of fly, but will fly short distances if necessary. It breeds in open scrub and farmland, laying its eggs on the ground.

How to identify

The red-legged partridge is sandy, grey-brown above, with intricate black and brown barring on its sides, and a white throat surrounded by a black necklace. The bright red beak and pink-red legs help to identify it.


Found in England and lowland parts of eastern Scotland and Wales.

Did you know?

Also known as the 'French partridge', the red-legged partridge was introduced to the UK from western Europe during the 1700s as a new gamebird.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts record and monitor our local wildlife to understand the effects of various factors on their populations, such as the introduction of new species. You can help with this vital monitoring work by becoming a volunteer - you'll not only help local wildlife but learn new skills and make new friends along the way.