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Barbary Partridge
Barbary Partridge

(Alectoris barbara)


Barbary Partridge,
Photo from the Game Bird Breeders' Gazette
Oct-Nov 1990


One of the most attractive members of the Rock Partridges, genus Alectoris. Barbary Partridge are very popular with aviculturists and do well in captivity. In the wild, there are about six subspecies that range from Morocco across North Africa into Libya and Egypt. There are very slight, if any, differences in each of the subspecies. They have introduced into the Canary islands and unsuccessfully on the main island of Hawaii.

While they similar in size and general appearance to other species of the genus, Barbary Partridge are much more colorful upon closer observation. The face is light gray, surrounded by a chestnut band that is flecked with white. The breast is more buff than other Alectoris species, while the shoulders and back are the same bluish-gray. The sexes are alike, with male being slightly larger and may have small spurs on the red legs.


I have found that this species does best when kept pairs, as one will become very dominant over the other. The hen begins to lay her clutch of between 8 and 15 eggs in April. Some hens have been reported to lay as many as 30 eggs per season! Some breeders are experiencing a great deal of infertile eggs however, due in large part to inbreeding.

Incubation lasts 24 days and he chicks are similar to the Chukar and Red-legged Partridge chicks in that they are easy to care for.

General Comments

Barbary Partridge are quite popular in captivity. Most breeders keep them on wire like other species of partridge. They are not as hardy as Chukars and Red-legs during the Winter. It is best to group as many together for warmth. Please don't make the mistake I did one year. I once put them together a little too early, end of September, and I had a male that proceeded to attack and injure the other males! They do not need any heat, but do protect them any drafts and direct winds.

As mentioned, inbreeding has become a problem. New bloodlines are needed to keep the captive populations viable.

This page is an excerpt from
The Game Bird and Waterfowl website
by Dan Cowell.
 Click here to visit his website


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