Estonia post issued a stamp of the bird of the year featuring Partridge. The Grey Partridge (Perdix perdix) is a small bird of the pheasant family who mainly lives in farmland – in fields as well in pasturelands.
It passes the winter in groups, often in the vicinity of human settlements. The winter groups split up in April when coupling takes place. In the nesting period, in May to June, they lead a very covert way of life.
The Grey Partridge is a rotund bird, 28–32 cm long, brown-backed, with grey flanks and chest. The belly is white, usually marked with a large chestnut-brown horse-shoe mark in males, and also in many females. The nest usually has from 15 to 20 eggs, and the young fledge at ten days old.
Young Grey Partridges are mostly yellow-brown and lack the distinctive face and underpart markings. The song is a harsh kieerr-ik, and when disturbed, like most of the gamebirds, it flies a short distance on rounded wings, often calling rick rick rick as it rises.
They are a seed-eating species, but the young in particular take insects as an essential protein supply. During the first 10 days of life, the young can only digest insects. The parents lead their chicks to the edges of cereal fields, where they can forage for insects. They are also a non-migratory terrestrial species, and form flocks outside the breeding season.
It is a species of dwindling numbers that are most affected by predation and by the use of pesticides in farming. There are presumably about 4,000 to 8,000 couples of the grey partridge in Estonia at present.
Title: Bird of the Year – Partridge
Date of Issue: 7 March 2013
Denominations: 0.45 EUR