Family Pheasants, Partridges, Turkeys, Grouse (Phasianidae)

Least Concern

Arabian Partridge (Alectoris melanocephala)


Taxonomy

French: Perdrix à tête noire German: Schwarzkopf-Steinhuhn Spanish: Perdiz árabe
Taxonomy:

Perdix melanocephala

Rüppell

, 1835,

mountains near Jedda, Saudi Arabia

.

Distinctive member of genus, sometimes separated as a monotypic subgenus. Perhaps most closely related to A. barbara, with this lineage representing the oldest divergence within the genus#R. Races rather poorly differentiated; species sometimes treated as monotypic. Two subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. m. melanocephala (Rüppell, 1835) – S Arabia from Jedda (W Saudi Arabia) S to W & C Yemen, and W Oman (E to Dhofar); apparently isolated population in Jabal Akhdar region, near Muscat (NE Oman), speculated to have been introduced. Recently reported from near Madinah (N Hejaz, CW Saudi Arabia), a considerable range extension. Recent records from Jabal Hafit (Oman–United Arab Emirates border) perhaps involved escapes#R.
  • A. m. guichardi (R. Meinertzhagen, 1951) – E Hadramut, in E Yemen.
  • No acceptable record for Eritrea, where not claimed since 1890 and data may be based on released birds.

    Descriptive notes

    39–43 cm; male c. 724 g, female c. 522 g. Differs from other Alectoris including partially sympatric (but mainly elevationally parapatric) A. philbyi... read more

    Voice

    Considered to be generally louder and deeper than other Alectoris: most commonly gives a... read more

    Habitat

    Stony and somewhat better-vegetated ground in hills, mountains and upland plains, from near sea-... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds on vegetable matter, seeds and invertebrates. Crops contained the grass Schismus barbatus and the herb Gnaphalium... read more

    Breeding

    Lays late Mar–May in Arabia (pairs form from Feb), but chicks reported Apr–Nov (mostly Jun–Sept); formerly Jul–Aug... read more

    Movements

    No information available, but presumably sedentary. Escapes potential predators by running uphill. read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Mace Lande: safe. Overall population speculated to number 400,000 pairs. Locally common in Saudi Arabia with highest densities in... read more

    Recommended citation

    McGowan, P.J.K. & Kirwan, G.M. (2018). Arabian Partridge (Alectoris melanocephala). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/53377 on 23 July 2018).