Family Pheasants, Partridges, Turkeys, Grouse (Phasianidae)

Least Concern

Snow Partridge (Lerwa lerwa)


French: Lerva des neiges German: Haldenhuhn Spanish: Perdiz lerwa

Perdix Lerwa


, 1833,

northern Nepal


Speculated as being most closely related to partridges of S Asia on basis of colour patterns of adults and downy young#R. Characters of E race major (larger size, less rufous upperparts, somewhat paler undersides) perhaps not constant and possibly represent only clinal variation#R. Proposed race callipygia (from Gansu, in C China) synonymized with major. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. l. lerwa (Hodgson, 1833) – NW & N Pakistan (from upper Hunderjav Valley) E in Himalayas to S & SE Tibetan Plateau and frontier zone of NE India. Inclusion of E Afghanistan in range requires confirmation#R, although species apparently does occur in adjacent border region of Pakistan#R.
  • L. l. major R. Meinertzhagen, 1927 – C China from S Gansu (upper R Huang) S to N & W Sichuan and N Yunnan.
  • Descriptive notes

    30–40 cm; 454–709 g. More barred dorsally than other Himalayan Galliformes, though usually just appears dark at distance; bright red bill and feet; has most... read more


    In advertisement male gives repeated, loud and slightly squeaky-sounding whistles, “jijiu,... read more


    Alpine meadows and open, rocky hillsides above treeline with scattered rhododendron bushes and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Lichen, moss and other plant matter predominates. Seeds, flowers, leaves and shoots of 43 plant species recorded in SW China; grasses... read more


    Lays from late May to mid Jun in SW China, but perhaps until Jul or even later elsewhere. Monogamous and territorial (breeding territories... read more


    May descend in severe winters to 2100–2700 m from usual altitudes above 3000 m. In China... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Mace Lande: safe. Was thought to be rare in China, but probably a consequence of its remote habitat being rarely visited and species... read more

    Recommended citation

    McGowan, P.J.K. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Snow Partridge (Lerwa lerwa). 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).