Family Pheasants, Partridges, Turkeys, Grouse (Phasianidae)

Least Concern

Barbary Partridge (Alectoris barbara)


French: Perdrix gambra German: Felsenhuhn Spanish: Perdiz moruna
Other common names: Cyrenaic Partridge (barbata)

Perdix Barbara


, 1790,

#R no locality = Morocco


Perhaps most closely related to A. melanocephala, with this lineage representing the oldest divergence within the genus#R. Previously considered close to A. chukar, A. philbyi and A. rufa. It has been suggested that race barbata is sufficiently different morphologically and genetically to warrant separate treatment#R. Geographical variation largely clinal; proposed races duprezi (C Sahara mountains) and theresae (Morocco) included in spatzi. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. b. koenigi (Reichenow, 1899) – NW Morocco; also Canary Is (where at least some populations introduced).
  • A. b. barbara (Bonnaterre, 1790) – NE Morocco, N Algeria and N Tunisia; Sardinia (possibly introduced).
  • A. b. spatzi (Reichenow, 1895) – S & E Morocco, N Mauritania, S Algeria, S Tunisia and NW & extreme SW Libya; presumably this race in N Chad (Tibesti).
  • A. b. barbata (Reichenow, 1896) – NE Libya; old records from NW Egypt.
  • Successfully introduced (koenigi) to Canary Is and (barbara) to Gibraltar. Introductions in rest of Europe, USA and Australia either unsuccessful from outset or populations died out.

    Descriptive notes

    34–38 cm; male c. 461 g, female c. 376 g; wingspan 46–49 cm. Differs from other Alectoris by chestnut-brown crown and broad neckband. Sexes almost... read more


    Advertising and alarm calls differ from those of A. chukar and A. rufa; other... read more


    Rocky areas and arid hillsides, and shrubby and wooded habitats, including open pine forest and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet varied, but primarily leaves, shoots, fruits and seeds of wide range of grasses and herbs; insects, especially ants, are important... read more


    Lays late Feb to mid Jun in Morocco (peak mid Mar to mid Apr in one study); elsewhere dates believed similar, mostly Mar–May,... read more


    Mainly sedentary, but descends from upper zones of Atlas Mts during heavy winter snows, but even... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Mace Lande: safe. Has declined locally and is probably even extinct in some areas, e.g. coast of NW Egypt, where last reported 1964;... read more

    Recommended citation

    McGowan, P.J.K., Kirwan, G.M. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2019). Barbary Partridge (Alectoris barbara). 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 on 10 December 2019).