Species of the week #1 – red-legged partridge

Distribution status  Extinct in Rhineland-Palatinate
Remaining deposits Two specimens in NRW, few specimens in Hesse
Last sighting in Rineland-Palatinate 2008
Habitat Semi-open landscape with undergrowth
Threat Industrial agriculture, insect mortality, land use, climate change

The red-legged partridge is considered extinct in Rhineland-Palatinate and the whole of Germany. Only seven specimens have been recorded in NRW and Hesse in recent years. In France, Italy and Spain it is considered a present species.

The red-legged partridge is a ground-breeder that builds nest hollows. In spring, it competes with lapwings and skylarks for the few sheltered accesses to bare ground. Therefore, nests are often built in fields and destroyed by passing tractors. The young birds are mainly fed with insects. Due to insect mortality, there is a shortage of food. In addition, this bird species spends a quarter of the day grooming its feathers and is therefore dependent on a body of water near the nest. Undisturbed sites with sandy bottoms, abundant insects and access to clean water close to flight are site factors that have become very rare in the poorly structured agricultural landscape.

Politically necessary:
– Agricultural subsidies for small-scale and/or organic farming.
– Support for so-called lark windows
– Reduction of building in outdoor areas
– Measures against climate change
Image :Juan Lacruz