Alectoris rufa 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Galliformes Phasianidae

Scientific Name: Alectoris rufa (Linnaeus, 1758)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Red-legged Partridge
Taxonomic Source(s): Cramp, S. and Simmons, K.E.L. (eds). 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ashpole, J, Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J.
This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Countries occurrence:
Andorra; France; Germany; Italy; Portugal; Spain
Algeria; Greece; Ireland; New Zealand; United Kingdom
Belgium; Luxembourg; Netherlands; Switzerland
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:1710000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):2000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The breeding population, which is confined to Europe, is estimated at 5,060,000-7,080,000 pairs, which equates to 10,100,000-14,200,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015).

Trend Justification:  The population size is estimated to be decreasing by less than 25% in 11.7 years (three generations) (BirdLife International 2015).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The species is found in open habitats ranging from Mediterranean to humid temperate zones but not in boreal, oceanic or arid zones (Tucker and Heath 1994, McGowan et al. 2013). It prefers lowland areas and avoids forest and wet areas if possible. It uses habitats with a wide variety of soils and land uses including dry hilly land with scattered bushes up to about 1,300 m (occasionally up to 2,000 m) in montane foothills, inhospitable dry terrain on lower mountain slopes and marginal cultivation, cropland, orchards or woodland (McGowan et al. 2013). Over most of its range it is associated with arable farming, using low-intensity cropping with a mixture of cultivated, fallow and uncultivated ground (Tucker and Heath 1994). Laying dates vary between countries; April to early May in Portugal, late April to May in England and May to mid-June in France. The nest is a scrape in the ground lined with a few pieces of vegetation. Clutch sizes average 11.2–12.7 eggs. It feeds on seeds, leaves and roots with grasses and legumes particularly important in winter. It will also eat insects. The species is mostly sedentary but may descend to lower ground during the winter (McGowan et al. 2013).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):3.9
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The disappearance of uncultivated land due to changes in agricultural practice has resulted in the loss of nesting cover and chick food. In pastoral areas, pastures have been agriculturally improved and areas of low, herb-rich scrub converted to grassland and further habitat loss has occurred through the loss of arable farming from open hill areas, if livestock are removed (leading to encroachment of tall scrub and forest) (Tucker and Heath 1994). Urbanization and agricultural expansion have also caused habitat fragmentation. In the Iberian Peninsula, hunting has led to steep declines; in Portugal over 60% of estimated potential population may be shot each year (McGowan and Kirwan 2013). Also illegal importations of A. graeca and A. chukar may also be causing problems through hybridization and competition (Tucker and Heath 1994, McGowan and Kirwan 2013).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
EU Birds Directive Annex II and III. In 1993, the release of any Alectoris species other than A. rufa was discontinued in the U.K. (Tucker and Heath 1994).

Conservation Actions Proposed
The promotion of low-level agriculture in the lowlands and the maintenance of of traditional farming practices in marginal hill areas should be put in place. Releases of other Alectoris species should be stopped in the rest of Europe. Sustainable hunting practices should be developed and adopted and promoted by hunting organisations and their members (Tucker and Heath 1994).

Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Alectoris rufa. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22678711A85911062. . Downloaded on 15 October 2018.
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