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Snow partridge

Lerwa lerwa

Photo by Ulrich Weber (Oriental Bird Images)

Common name:
snow partridge (en); perdiz-das-neves (pt); lerva des neiges (fr); perdiz Lerwa (es); Lerwahuhn (de)

Order Galliformes
Family Phasianidae

This species is found in the Himalayas mountain range, in northern India and Pakistan, Nepal and south-western China.

These birds are 38-40 cm long. The females tend to be smaller, weighing 450-580 g while the males weigh 550-700 g.

The snow partridge is found in high-altitude grasslands and scrublands above the tree-line, as well as in bare rocky areas. They are present at altitudes of 3000-5000 m.

They feed on mosses, lichens and the shoots of plants.

Snow partridges are monogamous and breed in May-July. The nest is a scrape on the ground, in a hill-side under some sheltering rock, sometimes lined with moss. There the female lays 2-5 pale buff eggs with fine reddish mottles, which she incubates alone while the male stands guard. There is no information regarding the length of the incubation period. The chicks leave the nest soon after hatching.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and despite being common throughout much its range, the population has declined locally owing to human encroachment, habitat destruction and hunting.

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