Family New World Quails (Odontophoridae)

Least Concern

Stone Partridge (Ptilopachus petrosus)


French: Poulette de roches German: Felsenwachtel Spanish: Gallinita roquera

Tetrao petrosus

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,



Molecular data indicate a sister relationship with Ptilopachus (formerly Francolinus) nahani and that these two form a clade sister to the New World quails#R, while previously unrecognized vocal and behavioral similarities between P. petrosus and P. nahani support the genetic data, and indicate that these two species should be treated together as the subfamily Ptilopachinae, within the Odontophoridae#R. Proposed races saturatior (N Cameroon), brehmi (NC Sudan), butleri (W South Sudan), emini (NW Uganda) and florentiae (Kenya) probably represent stages of clinal variation#R (birds from more arid areas tending to be paler and more rufous#R), and are normally included within nominate. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. p. petrosus (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) – S Mauritania and Senegal E to SW Sudan, South Sudan and C Kenya, and SC Ethiopia.
  • P. p. major Neumann, 1908 – NW Ethiopia and N Eritrea.
  • Descriptive notes

    23–28 cm; 187–198 g. Presents distinctive aspect due to habit of cocking tail like a bantam fowl; generally appears rather dark, with buff belly and broad... read more


    Calls most at dawn and dusk, except in wet season when vocalizes day-long; higher-pitched and more... read more


    Typically occurs in dense scrubby vegetation on boulder-strewn rocky hillsides, from 600 m to 1500... read more

    Food and feeding

    Grass and herb seeds, green leaves, fruits and buds, and some insects. Usually encountered in pairs or groups of up to four, but more... read more


    Monogamous in captivity, but polygny reported in wild, based largely on observation of single male displaying to multiple females. Season... read more


    Sedentary. Flies only when hard-pressed, using a fast, direct style of flight. Climbs cliff faces... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Mace Lande: Safe. Little detailed information available, but species considered common, even abundant, in many areas, e.g. parts of... read more

    Recommended citation

    McGowan, P.J.K. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Stone Partridge (Ptilopachus petrosus). 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 19 February 2020).