red-legged partridge defined in 1930 yearred-legged partridge - Red-legged Partridge;
red-legged partridge - Throat and cheeks white, surrounded by a black band, which spreads itself out over the breast and sides of the neck in the form of numerous spots and lines, with which are intermixed a few white spots; upper parts reddish ash; on the flanks a number of crescent- shaped spots; the convexity towards the tail rust-red; the centre black bordered by white; beak, orbits, and feet bright red. Length, thirteen and a half inches.
The red-legged partridge, or French partridge, as it is often called, is, like the pheasant, a naturalised species, introduced by man; but its history as a British bird is comparatively a short one. and devoid of romance. A first attempt to naturalise it was made in the reign of Charles II., but was not successful; on its reintroduction. about a hundred and twenty years ago, it proved well able to maintain existence in its new surroundings. Owing to its swift ness of foot and excessive wildness it was difficult for the sportsman to get within shooting distance of it, when partridges were shot over dogs. On this account it was disliked; so much so in some cases that attempts were made to extirpate it. But in spite of persecution it continued to increase, and is now found distributed over a large part of England, from the southern counties to Westmorland.
It differs from the common partridge in language and habits, as well as in its more conspicuously marked plumage and bright red legs. It is not a bird of the homestead, being partial to dry, sandy soils, to commons, and uncultivated lands. Its call-note is a musical, piping cry. It breeds early, and makes a slight nest on the ground. The eggs are fifteen to eighteen in number, yellowish white in groundcolour, and blotched with brown.
An allied species, the Barbary partridge (Caccabis petrosa), has been included, as a rare straggler to England, among British birds.
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