This partridge breeds on farmland across much of temperate eastern Asia from Kyrgyzstan east to China and Mongolia. It is a non-migratory terrestrial species, which forms flocks outside the breeding season. In parts of its range, it overlaps with the very similar and closely related grey partridge, with which it forms a superspecies.
Daurian partridge is a bird of open country, ideally with some adjacent bushes or light woodland. The nest is a lined depression in or near cover, and the typical clutch is 18–20 eggs.
It is a rotund bird, 28–30 cm (11–12 in) long, brown-backed, with an orange face and an orange bristly "beard" in the breeding season. The rest of the head and the underparts are grey with a buff central chest and a black belly patch. The female has a smaller belly patch and is duller than the male. Young Daurian partridges are essentially grey-brown, and lack the distinctive face and underpart markings. The song is a hoarse kieerr-ik.
There are three subspecies differing mainly in the plumage becoming darker and more rufous further east.
This is a seed-eating species, but the young in particular take insects as an essential protein supply. When disturbed, like most of the gamebirds, it flies a short distance on rounded wings, often calling rick rick rick as it rises.
Daurian partridge is not globally threatened, but may be overhunted in parts of its range.
- Pheasants, Partridges and Grouse by Madge and McGowan, ISBN 0-7136-3966-0