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A photo of a Tibetan Partridge (Perdix hodgsoniae)
Tibetan Partridge

Tibetan Partridge

Perdix hodgsoniae

The Tibetan partridge (Perdix hodgsoniae) is a distinctive gamebird belonging to the pheasant family, Phasianidae. It is characterized by a brown back, a blackish belly patch, and chestnut flanks. Notably, it sports a striking black and white face pattern with a contrasting rufous collar, setting it apart from other Perdix species.

Identification Tips

Adults measure between 28–31 cm in length. The forehead, broad supercilium, face, and throat are white, while a broad black stripe runs down the face from below the eyes. The upper parts are buff, barred with rufous and black, and the tail-feathers are chestnut, tipped with white. The lower plumage is pale buff closely barred with black, and the flanks feature broad chestnut bars. Males have a black belly patch, which is barred in females. Juveniles lack the distinctive facial and underpart markings of adults, presenting a more uniform buff-brown coloration.


The Tibetan partridge inhabits mountain slopes and high meadows with sparse vegetation, often with Rhododendron bushes, dwarf juniper, or other scrubs providing cover, typically found at elevations between 3,600 and 4,250 meters.


This species is native to the Tibetan plateau, with its range extending from Tibet, Northern Pakistan, Kashmir, northwestern India, northern Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, to western China.


The Tibetan partridge is a non-migratory terrestrial bird that may move to lower altitude desert plains in winter and ascend to the snowline in summer. It forms monogamous pairs during the breeding season and larger flocks of 10-15 birds outside of it. When threatened, it prefers to run but will take short flights on rounded wings if necessary.

Song & Calls

The Tibetan partridge's call is a rattling "scherrrrreck- scherrrrreck" heard mainly in the mornings, while its flight call is a shrill "chee chee chee."


Breeding begins around mid-March, with nests varying from bare rocky plateaus to thorny scrub or standing crops. The nest is a grass-lined depression, sometimes without lining. Clutch size is typically 8-10 brownish-buff eggs laid from May to June, with the male assisting in caring for the young.

Similar Species

While similar in some respects to other Perdix species, the Tibetan partridge is distinguished by its unique facial pattern and lack of spurs on the legs of both sexes.

Diet and Feeding

The diet consists primarily of seeds, with young birds also consuming insects for protein.

Conservation status

The Tibetan partridge is classified as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, appearing secure within its extensive and often inaccessible range on the Tibetan Plateau.

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