Saturday, December 12, 2009

Twelve Days of Christmas

I enjoyed highlighting the poultry aspects of the Twelve Days of Christmas in 2008, so I’ll add to what I wrote last year and revisit the subject.

A Partridge in a Pear Tree: Partridges are gallinaceous birds that have not been domesticated. Scientifically, they are in the Phasianidae family,, which includes quail and pheasants. Partridges are further classified in the subfamily Perdicinae, which comprises francolins and Old World quail, These birds are native to Asia, with various species ranging across all kinds of habitat, from mountains to desert. Generally, they prefer open country such as grasslands but others conceal themselves in dense forests.

The Himalayan Snowcock lives in the harsh environment of the highest mountains on earth. The Common Hill Partridge is at home in the thick vegetation of the forest of India and south China. The tiny African Stone Partridge combs the sands of sub-Saharan Senegal to Kenya, a sort of bantam partridge. The most colorful of the group, the Crested Wood Partridge, lives in the tropical rain forests of Southeast Asia, in South Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo. These illustrations are from the Illustrated Encyclopedia of Birds compiled by Consultant in Chief Dr. Christopher M. Perrins in association with the International Council for Bird Preservation.

Among modern chickens, the color variety known as Partridge is recognized in Cochin, Plymouth Rock, Wyandotte, Chantecler and other breeds. It is similar to the Black Red pattern, the name more appropriately applied to game birds according to Dr. J. Batty in his Poultry Colour Guide. This illustration of Partridge Wyandottes is from his book.

Consult the Standard of Perfection for details of the Partridge color pattern description.

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