Family Pheasants, Partridges, Turkeys, Grouse (Phasianidae)

Least Concern

Green-legged Partridge (Arborophila chloropus)


French: Torquéole des bois German: Grünfuß-Buschwachtel Spanish: Arborófila pativerde
Other common names: Scaly-breasted Partridge, Green-legged Hill-partridge, Annam Hill-partridge (merlini)

Tropicoperdix chloropus


, 1859,

mountains of Tenasserim, Burma = Muleyit, Myanmar


Sometimes placed in genus Tropicoperdix. Former HBW arrangement of members of A. chloropus complex (here involving also A. merlini and A. charltonii) now revised on basis of review of specimen material at NHMUK, resulting in separation at species level of forms tonkinensis (from A. chloropus) and graydoni (from A. charltonii), and treatment of A. merlini as subspecies of A. chloropus. All subspecies recognized below share buffy-tan lower throat (with black spots) and black-scaled olive grey-brown upper breast, and replace each other geographically in SE Asia to form a clear group of taxa among which only narrow differences are evident. Form merlini (with closely related vivida, sometimes subsumed within merlini#R) was previously considered sufficiently distinctive for full species treatment on basis of its yellow legs and stronger black scaling on breast and flanks, but these differences not major (leg colour in this complex apparently variable). For characters separating A. tonkinensis, and for those confirming separation of A. charltonii and A. graydoni, see those species. Six subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. c. chloropus (Blyth, 1859) – S China (S Yunnan) S to Myanmar (S to N Tenasserim) and NW Thailand.
  • A. c. peninsularis Meyer de Schauensee, 1941 – SW Thailand.
  • A. c. olivacea (Delacour & Jabouille, 1928) – Laos and Cambodia; possibly also SE Thailand.
  • A. c. merlini (Delacour & Jabouille, 1924) – interior of C Vietnam.
  • A. c. vivida (Delacour, 1926) – coastal hills of C Vietnam.
  • A. c. cognacqi (Delacour & Jabouille, 1924) – S Vietnam.
  • Descriptive notes

    c. 26–31 cm; 250–300 g. Green legs often distinctive (e.g. races nominate, olivacea and cognacqi), but leg colour somewhat variable. Has buffy-... read more


    Territorial call a series of up to c. 90 plaintive notes (often doubled) over 15–70 seconds,... read more


    Inhabits dense primary forest, but apparently also sometimes found in secondary forest up to 1400 m... read more

    Food and feeding

    Seeds, berries and termites reported in diet.


    Only detailed study pertains to nominate race in N Thailand (in Khao Yai National Park), where 18 nests were found, all on the ground... read more


    No information available.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Little detailed information available, especially from China, where species apparently always rare. Believed to number in low... read more

    Recommended citation

    McGowan, P.J.K., Christie, D.A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Green-legged Partridge (Arborophila chloropus). 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 9 December 2019).