Barbary Partridge (Alectoris barbara)

Barbary Partridge

[order] GALLIFORMES | [family] Phasianidae | [latin] Alectoris barbara | [UK] Barbary Partridge | [FR] Perdrix gambra | [DE] Felsenhuhn | [ES] Perdiz Moruna | [NL] Barbarijnse Patrijs


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Alectoris barbara AF n
Alectoris barbara barbara ne Morocco to n Tunesia
Alectoris barbara barbata ne Libya, nw Egypt
Alectoris barbara koenigi Canary Is., nw Morocco
Alectoris barbara spatzi s Morocco to c and s Algeria and s Tunesia

Physical charateristics

Head lacks characteristic pattern of other Alectoris, with grey-white face and throat and deep white-spotted, pink collar not ending in necklace and contrasting less. Scapulars show well-developed rufous spots on bluish ground. Underparts noticeably sandy-buff, making mainly chestnut flank bars less noticeable than on congeners.

Listen to the sound of Barbary Partridge

[audio: Partridge.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 46 cm wingspan max.: 49 cm
size min.: 32 cm size max.: 34 cm
incubation min.: 24 days incubation max.: 26 days
fledging min.: 7 days fledging max.: 26 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 10  
      eggs max.: 14  


Africa : North


In Mediterranean, steppe, and desert zones, at various altitudes up to 3300 m in High Atlas. Catholic in choice of habitats found on bare stony hills, in scrub, woodland, locally in orchards. In desert regions, largely in stands of shrubs along dry river beds.


Barbary partrigdes breed monogamously, pairing occurs from February to March or April depending on latitude. Males appear to defend females rather than territory, this finding is in dispute, however. Males often desert the female after egg-laying. In early fall males rejoin the brood during covey formation. Coveys are formed by one or more broods, often shortly after hatching. Eggs are laid at a rate of one per day to one per 2 days. Clutch size ranges from 10 to 20 eggs, with an average of 15.
Clutch size is greatly reduced in drought years; in extreme drought, breeding may not occur at all. Double brooding (production of two consecutive broods in one season) was reported from captive birds, and is suspected to occur in wild birds . Renesting following clutch loss is normal. The incubation period is typically 24 days. The precocial young leave the nest shortly after hatching. Individual flight attempts are usually made by about 2 weeks of age and as early as 10 days after hatching, brood flights (where the entire brood makes a flight together) occur by 3 weeks of age, and by 4 weeks of age the chicks have formed flight habits similar to those of adult Rock partrigdess. The brood and the adult female remain near each other. Rock partrigdes nests are depressions scratched in the ground and lined with leaves and feathers, usually well camouflaged under shrubs or among rocks.

Feeding habits

The Barbary Partridge takes a wide variety of seeds and some insect food.


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 has not been quantified, but it is not believed to 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.
Alectoris barbara has a predominantly North African distribution, but also occurs in
Europe in the Canary Islands, Gibraltar and Sardinia (Italy). Its European breeding
population is small (as few as 7,500 pairs), and underwent a large decline between
1970-1990. Although the species increased in the Canary Islands during 1990-2000,
the trend of the other key population in Sardinia was unknown. Nevertheless, its
population size probably still renders it susceptible to the risks affecting small
populations, and consequently it is provisionally evaluated as Rare.
This partridge is mainly a bird of North Africa, but it is known from Sardinia, Gibraltar, south-eastern Iberia and the Canary islands. The populations of Gibraltar and Spain, estimated at 50 breeding pairs each, seem fairly stable but vulnerable. However, those of Sardinia and the Canary islands, estimated at 3600-11000 breeding pairs, are strongly decreasing because of maybe on over-hunting, poaching, but also use of pesticides and habitat changes.
Barbary Partridge status Least Concern


Mainly sedentary, but descends from upper zones of Atlas Mts during heavy winter snows.

Distribution map

Barbary Partridge distribution range map

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