The Hungarian partridge, sometimes called the grey partridge, is not native to Canada. They were released in each of the Maritime Provinces in 1926-27. Only Prince Edward Island has enough birds to allow hunting.
Like other introduced birds, its legs and feet are bare and unfeathered. It is a brownish-grey bird with short brown tail feathers that are obvious and distinctive when viewed in flight. Male birds, or “cocks”, have a solid brown horseshoe marking on their lower breast.
Hens and juveniles have a similar mark, but it is broken and less distinct. Both hens and cocks weigh about 0.4 kg.
In spring, the hen lays 9 to 20 eggs in a hollow scraped in the ground and lined with grasses, usually in the shelter of grass or low shrubs. To camouflage the nest from predators, the hen will cover the eggs with grass.
Incubation is from 23 to 25 days. If the first clutch is lost, a second clutch of 9 or 10 eggs may be laid. The chicks are able to feed themselves within a few hours after hatching, and can fly short distances at around 2 weeks.
Birds generally occur in coveys of from 6 to 25 birds and are commonly found around abandoned farmsteads and shelterbelts. They feed on grain, clover, weeds, grass seeds, and other vegetation and, in spring and summer, on insects.
When hunting partridge, be prepared for the shock of a covey exploding from cover with a clatter of wings and a rapid cackle. Huns fly and glide speedily, but never very high above the ground. Occasionally, the birds may escape by running through the stubble rather than taking flight.