Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa


Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: #http://www.aerc.eu/DOCS/Bird_taxa_of _the_WP15.xls#.
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.
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
Turbott, E.G. 1990. Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand. Ornithological Society of New Zealand, Wellington.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - -

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2020 Near Threatened A2bcde+3bcde+4bcde
2018 Least Concern
2016 Least Concern
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status not a migrant Forest dependency does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type Average mass -

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 1,710,000
Number of locations -
Severely Fragmented -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 9950000-13700000 poor estimated 2020
Population trend decreasing inferred -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) 20-29 - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) 20-29 - - -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Percentage in largest subpopulation - - -

Population justification: The breeding population, which is confined to Europe, is estimated at  4,975,000-6,850,000 pairs, which equates to 9,950,000-13,700,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International in prep.).

Trend justification: The population is believed to have declined at a rate of 20-29% over ten years (the species's generation length is 2.1 years; Bird et al. 2020), due to the effects of agricultural intensification, habitat conversion, over-hunting and the effects of high volume release of farm-reared birds, many of which proved to be hybrid A. chukar x A. rufa (Blanco-Aguiar et al. 2008, Barbanera et al. 2010).
This is a lower rate of population reduction than the 40-45% in ten years reported by EU Member States to the European Commission under Article 12 of the EU Birds Directive (BirdLife International in prep.), or the 44% in ten years since 2008 reported under the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme. There is a high likelihood that population monitoring in the core range of the species was incomplete, as this species is managed for hunting on large privately-owned estates that were inaccessible to the surveyors. Red-legged Partridge is the most economically important small-game species in central Spain, and 87% of hunting estates, holding a large proportion of the population, are privately owned (Díaz‐Fernández et al. 2012).
However, these populations are not considered immune to the declines occurring throughout the rest of the range, and while there is scope for good management to maintain viable populations with a hunting surplus, it is suspected that these populations are also undergoing a moderate population reduction.

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Presence Origin Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Algeria extant introduced yes
Andorra extant native yes
Belgium extant vagrant yes
France extant native yes
Germany extant native yes
Greece extant introduced yes
Ireland extant introduced yes
Italy extant native yes
Luxembourg extant vagrant yes
Netherlands extant vagrant yes
New Zealand extant introduced yes
Portugal extant native yes
Spain extant native yes
Switzerland extant vagrant yes
United Kingdom extant introduced yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Spain Lerida steppes
Spain West Andévalo

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Terrestrial Arable Land suitable resident
Grassland Temperate suitable resident
Rocky areas (eg. inland cliffs, mountain peaks) suitable resident
Shrubland Mediterranean-type Shrubby Vegetation suitable resident
Shrubland Temperate suitable resident
Altitude 0 - 2000 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Agro-industry farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Rapid Declines Medium Impact: 7
Ecosystem degradation, Reduced reproductive success
Agriculture & aquaculture Livestock farming & ranching - Agro-industry grazing, ranching or farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Ecosystem degradation, Reduced reproductive success
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Intentional use (species is the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Causing/Could cause fluctuations Medium Impact: 6
Species mortality
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Introduced genetic material Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Unknown Unknown
Pollution Agricultural & forestry effluents - Herbicides and pesticides Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Reduced reproductive success

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food - human - - non-trivial recent
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - international non-trivial recent
Sport hunting/specimen collecting - - non-trivial recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Alectoris rufa. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/red-legged-partridge-alectoris-rufa on 08/06/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org on 08/06/2023.